Recommended Reading

The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us
By Meg Lowman; foreword by Sylvia A. Earle
Published August 10, 2021

An engrossing memoir of CanopyMeg’s life in the treetops, and her lifelong commitment to conserving trees and all that lives in them. Her story is an inspiring look at the experiences of an intrepid female scientist — one of the world’s first “abornauts” — who became a foremost authority on canopy tree science.

The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest
by Heather Lang

This picture book biography tells the story of Meg Lowman, a groundbreaking female scientist called a “real life Lorax” by National Geographic, who was determined to investigate the marvelous, undiscovered world of the rainforest treetops.  Please note: The author is generously donating proceeds from all book sales to the TREE Foundation — so every purchase helps TREE in its mission!


Methods in Forest Canopy Research
Margaret D. Lowman (Author), Timothy D. Schowalter (Author), Jerry F. Franklin (Author)
University of California Press (November 26, 2012)

Poised between soil and sky, forest canopies represent a critical point of exchange between the atmosphere and the earth, yet until recently, they remained a largely unexplored frontier. For a long time, problems with access and the lack of tools and methods suitable for monitoring these complex bioscapes made canopy analysis extremely difficult. Fortunately, canopy research has advanced dramatically in recent decades. Methods in Forest Canopy Research is a comprehensive overview of these developments for explorers of this astonishing environment. The authors describe methods for reaching the canopy and the best ways to measure how the canopy, atmosphere, and forest floor interact. They address how to replicate experiments in challenging environments and lay the groundwork for creating standardized measurements in the canopy–essential tools for for understanding our changing world.

View or download the book flyer PDF

Available online at or by phone: 1-800-777-4726
For a 20% discount use discount code 12M0402 (only available on books shipped to North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.)

It’s a Jungle Up There : More Tales from the Treetops
by Margaret D. Lowman, Edward Burgess, and James Burgess
Yale University Press (March 11, 2006)

Drawn to the mysteries of tropical rain forests and fascinated by life in the treetops, Meg Lowman has pursued a life of scientific exploration while raising her two sons, Edward and James Burgess. This book recounts their family adventures in remote parts of the world (Samoa, West Africa, Peru, Panama, India, Biosphere 2, and others), from the perspectives of both children and parent. Together they explore tropical rain forests, encounter anacondas and piranhas, eat crickets as hors d’oeuvres, discover new species, and nurture a family ethic for conservation. The chapters of the book focus on field biology questions, the canopy access methods developed to answer the questions, and conservation or education components of each expedition. Lowman enumerates the challenges and joys of juggling parenthood and career, and the children reflect on how their mother’s work has affected their lives. A rollicking, inspiring book, “It’s a Jungle Up There” is an upbeat portrayal of how a parent’s career can imprint children, and how children in turn can influence the success and trajectory of their parent’s career.

Chapter 14 (Global Citizens: An Environmental Ethic for Families) is available in PDF format. Read it here. PDF

Available at your local bookstore or order online.

Forest Canopies
by Lowman M.D. and H.B. Rinker
Elsevier Press (2004)

The treetops of the world’s forests are where discovery and opportunity abound, however they have been relatively inaccessible until recently. This book represents an authoritative synthesis of data, anecdotes, case studies, observations, and recommendations from researchers and educators who have risked life and limb in their advocacy of the High Frontier. With innovative rope techniques, cranes, walkways, dirigibles, and towers, they finally gained access to the rich biodiversity that lives far above the forest floor and the emerging science of canopy ecology. In this new edition of Forest Canopies, nearly 60 scientists and educators from around the world look at the biodiversity, ecology, evolution, and conservation of forest canopy ecosystems.

Available at your local bookstore or order online.

Life in the Treetops : Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology
by Margaret D. Lowman
Yale University Press (June 10, 1999)

A pioneering tree canopy scientist for more than twenty years, Margaret D. Lowman first gained access to the treetops with ropes and ladders, later a cherrypicker, and recently with such advanced methods as hot-air balloons and treetop walkways. In this absorbing book, Lowman describes her scientific studies in forest canopies around the world and her challenges as a field biologist, wife, and single parent.

Available at your local bookstore or order online:
Hardcover or Paperback

Also available in Chinese

Recommended Publication list for Canopy Walkway Projects

  • Margaret Lowman (2019) Canopy Walkways for Conservation: A Tropical Biologist’s Panacea or Fuzzy Metrics to Justify Ecotourism. BIOTROPICA 41(s): 54s-548 20. PDF
  • Margaret Lowman (2019) Methods of Forest Canopy Access and Case Studies of Their Applications to Research. Jahrbuch der Baumpflege 2019,73. Jg., S. 1 1 1 -1 21. PDF

Recommended Publication list for Ethiopia Projects

  • Cardelús, C., Scull, P., Wassie, A., Woods, C., Klepeis, P., Kent, E., & Orlowska, I. (2017). Shadow conservation and the persistence of sacred church forests in northern Ethiopia. The Journal of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. DOI: 10.1111/btp.12431 (Article Access)
  • Woods, C., Cardelús, C., Scull, P., Wassie, A., Baez, M., & Klepeis, P. (2016). Stone walls and sacred forest conservation in Ethiopia. Biodiversity and Conservation. 26:209-221 (Article Access)
  • LoTemplio, S., Reynolds, T., Wassie, A., Abrahams, M., Bruesewitz, D, & Wall, J. (2016). Ethiopian Orthodox church forests provide regulating and habitat services: evidence from stream sediment and aquatic insect analyses. African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12329 (Article Access)
  • Liang, J., Reynolds, T., Wassie, A., Collins, C., & Wubalem, A. (2016). Effects of exotic Eucalyptus spp. plantations on soil properties in and around sacred natural sites in the northern Ethiopian Highlands. AIMS Agriculture and Food. 1(2): 175-193 (Article Access)
  • Scull, P., Cardelús, C., Klepeis, P., Woods, C., Frankl, A., & Nyssen, J. (2016). The Resilience of Ethiopian Church Forests: Interpreting Aerial Photographs, 1938–2015. Land Degradation & Development. DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2633 (Article Access)
  • Klepeis, P., Orlowska, I., Kent, E., Cardelús, C., Scull, P., Wassie, A., & Woods, C. (2016). Ethiopian Church Forests: A Hybrid Model of Protection. Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 44:715-730 (Article Access)

More Recommended Books:

(Y)=Youth-appropriate book
(A)=Adult-appropriate book

  • (A) Castner, J.L. 2000. Amazon Insects. Feline Press, Gainesville, FL. ISBN 0-9625 150-1-9.
  • (A) Castner, J.L. 2000. Explorama’s Amazon: A Journey through the Rainforest. Feline Press, Gainesville, FL. ISBN 0-9625150-5-1.
  • (A) Caufield, Catherine. 1985. In the Rainforest. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-394-52701-1.
  • (Y) Cherry, Lynne. 1990. The Great Kapok. Harcourt Brace, San Diego. ISBN 0-15-2005020-X.
  • (Y) Cherry, Lynne and M.J. Plotkin. 1998. The Shaman’s Apprentice: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest. Harcourt Brace, San Diego. ISBN 0-15-201281-8.
  • (Y) Dunphy, Madeleine and Michael Rothman. 2006. Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest. Web of Life Children’s Books, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 0-9773795-1-5.
  • (Y) Goodman, S.E. and M.J. Doolittle. 1995. Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity: Adventures in the Amazon Rain Forest. Atheneum Books, New York. ISBN 0-689-31943-6.
  • (A) Kricher, John. 1997. A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-04433-3.
  • (Y) Lasky, Kathryn and C.G. Knight. 1997. The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: Exploring the Rainforest Canopy. Harcourt Brace, San Diego. ISBN 0-15-200893-4.
  • (A) Mitchell, A.W. 1986. The Enchanted Canopy: A Journey of Discovery to the Last Unexplored Frontier of the World’s Rainforests. MacMillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-585420-8.
  • (A) Moffett, M.W. 1993. The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 0-674-39038-5.
  • (A) Perry, Donald. 1986. Life above the Forest Floor: A Biologist Explores a Strange and Hidden Treetop World. Simon and Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-671-54454-3.
  • (A) Plotkin, M.J. 1993. Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest. Penguin Books, New York. 0-14-01.2991-X.
  • (A) Prance, G.T. and T.E. Lovejoy. 1985. Key Environments: Amazonia. Pergamon Press, Oxford, England. ISBN 0-08-030776-0.
  • (A) Wilson, E.O. (ed.). 1988. Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. ISBN 0-309-03783-2.
  • (A) Wilson, E.O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 0-674-21298-3.