Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.

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The baobabs of Madagascar and southern Africa are among the world's natural wonders: they can live more than 2,500 years, and their massive, water-storing trunks can reach a diameter of more than 35 feet. Baobabs also play an important role in human communities, serving as a renewable source of food, fiber, and fuel, as well as a focus of spiritual life. But now, suddenly, the largest baobabs are dying off, literally collapsing under their own weight. Scientists believe these ancient giants are being dehydrated by drought and higher temperatures, likely the result of climate change. Photographer Beth Moon - already responsible for some of the most indelible images of Africa's oldest and largest baobabs - began to hear of the rapid disappearance of these trees from her scientific contacts. She was driven to make a new photographic pilgrimage to bear witness to this environmental catastrophe and document the baobabs that still survive. In this volume - markedly oversize to match the majestic scale of her subjects - Moon presents 50 breathtaking new duotone tree portraits, primarily of the baobabs of Madagascar and Senegal. She also recounts her eventful journey to visit these fantastic trees in a moving diaristic text studded with colour travel photos. Baobab is not only a compelling photo book and travel narrative, but also a timely ecological warning.