The ministry of trees in the government of nature"" is the subject of this historical view of the arboreal kingdom from its origins to current problems of conservation. The first plants and their development into forests, which in turn were venerated in mythology and animistic beliefs, through the centuries led into the economic age in which, with natural equilibrium destroyed and the natural order rejected by man, the ""conquest of nature"" has resulted in near-defeat for civilization. In proving how the sins against the laws of earth have despoiled half the wealth of natural resources, he goes on to show how the new concepts of ecology will help to keep mankind in balance with his environment. An impressive accounting of the intimate quality of the relationship of trees to man and his need of them to exist, this has the warmth and fervor of an ardent champion and a lyricism in its prose. Besides its obvious market it should have an attraction for the Carson and Cousteau readers.