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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Above the Treeline by Alan F. Mark

New Zealand is a truly remarkable place. You don’t have to go far to see the beauty and expansiveness of nature. For many of us it is within our own backyard. Even from the centre of town it would take less than an hour to see something special in our nation’s flora and fauna.

And so, with the adoration for the natural world that comes from years of studying and understanding the landscape, Sir Alan Mark takes his knowledge as Professor Emeritus from the Botany Department of the University of Otago and has created a compendium of New Zealand’s nature in one magnificent tome.

More encyclopedic in style, the book references the various species that have found a home in New Zealand from the high country through to the gorges that line our nation. Each entry explores the specifics of the plant and the locations in New Zealand in which you would find it. Similarly with the native birds.

The depth of the knowledge presented within the book is really quite remarkable and testament to the level of detail that Mark has been able to gather in his years of research. Yet, it is the approachability of the writing and the accessibility of the language that really sets the book apart from others in the category. Never shying away from the intricacies of our national environment, Mark is able to communicate with clarity and efficacy to those who are not so well versed in such specifics. This makes the book highly readable and very much enjoyable as a reference text.

The introduction of the book has several wonderfully penned explanations of the topographical landscapes which New Zealand is blessed with, from the mountains to the rivers, the glaciers to the volcanoes, there is a thorough explanation, again using uncomplicated language, that explores the origins of such a diverse environment.

Overall, if there is anyone who has even the slightest interest in understanding more about the world of New Zealand plant and animal life, then this is essential reading. From one of the only people properly versed in the natural world in New Zealand, the book contains hours of reading and learning about our unique environment.

A highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyable journey through the greatness of our natural world.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Potton and Burton, RRP 79.99


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