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RFS and Reader’s Digest link up with new tree resource
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Beech: One of the first entries in the Royal Forestry Society’s new on line tree resource

Date Issued: 07 October 2011


The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has partnered with Reader’s Digest to create a spectacular new on-line tree species reference library that brings together all aspects of trees and their value to society. The A–Z of Trees resource uses exquisite and highly detailed hand-drawn illustrations of trees and their elements – such as fruits, leaves and flowers – commissioned by Reader’s Digest, as well as photographs from other sources.

Launched on the RFS web site,, under the Learning section, the site is free to use, with trees listed alphabetically by their common name. Phase One – native trees – is available now, with Phase Two – naturalised and exotic trees – to be added in the near future.

The resource has been developed by RFS Education Officer Debbie Cotton as a one-stop information hub – teaming the illustrations with photographs and comprehensive information on species characteristics, distribution, human value, wildlife value and management.

Debbie says: “There is a huge amount of information spread across many websites on different trees. My aim was to bring all aspects of species biology, use and cultural value together in a consistent and authoritative format which will be of value to a wide range of people.

“Not only does our new guide provide a clear and accurate guide to help people identify the trees and understand their biology, but it incorporates heritage and value, the species’ past and current use and their value both to humans and wildlife.

“It is aimed as much at professional foresters as at those with a general interest in trees, and it will be of use to students and amateurs looking to ID and learn about trees, as well as woodland owners looking to develop and manage their woodlands. It will also be useful to those studying tree biology from Key Stage 3 at school to university and beyond.”

Alastair Holmes, International Managing Editor Reader’s Digest Books and Home Entertainment, said: “The educational value of this new reference library is huge. The illustrations were originally commissioned as part of the Nature Lovers Library series, and we are delighted that they can be re-used digitally to such great effect.”




  • The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) has been in existence for over 125 years. Founded in 1882, it now has almost 4,000 members who include woodland owners, land managers, foresters, students, keen amateurs, arborists, landscapers, timber merchants and ecologists.
  • Reader’s Digest Association – the 90-year-old global publishing and direct marketing company – produces magazines, books, music and videos, including the eponymous magazine title with which it made its name. In the UK it is also well known for its authoritative and handsomely illustrated family reference books, including the classic bird lovers’ bible The Book of British Birds and the best-selling touring guide The Most Amazing Places to Visit in Britain.