Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
On the Shoulders of Nature
How Ten Million Species Save your Life

Fascinating tales of our interactions with nature, from the author of popular science bestseller, Extraordinary Insects.

You and I are much more deeply interwoven into the intricate fabric of nature than we might think. Millions of species give us food, medicine and a habitable environment – and nature is also a source of knowledge and joy.
In characteristically engaging prose, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson regales readers with exciting and thought-provoking stories about nature. She takes us out into the rainforests, where orchid bees make perfume and pollinate the nuts you crack at Christmas; beneath the cool shade of great trees on city streets that reduce the need for air-cooling systems; down into the trenches, where soldiers used fungi as light sources on moonless nights.
We read about trees in ancient woodland that provide us with cancer medicines and the kingfisher that inspired the design of bullet trains. But we also discover how our behaviour can place all this in jeopardy, because our capacity to exploit nature also risks undermining the basis for our very existence.
What we are seeing today is a natural crisis in which species are threatened and habitats vanishing – a situation just as acute and serious as the climate crisis. If we are to secure our own future, we must change the way we live and learn to join forces with the natural world that helps us in so many ways.

'Oh, oh, oh! Brilliant about nature and culture. Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson describes processes in nature that are so wild that one would think that she had invented everything herself. (...) Aided by a wealth of astonishing and jaw-dropping examples, Sverdrup-Thygeson demonstrates that we stand on the shoulders of nature and that, in many cases, it can be important to let nature repair herself. (...) If you are only going to read one book on species diversity this year, this is definitely the one!'


Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, as well as a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Her research focuses on insect ecology. In addition she has studied history and is interested in outreach activities, runs a science blog and is a regular guest on the popular science radio programme EKKO - Abel's Tower on NRK P2.

Other titles

The Sloth and the Sloth Moth, 2020
Beetles, bugs and butterflies, 2019
Terra Insecta. The little ones that make the world go ‘round, 2018

Foreign rights

Stilton Literary Agency
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Edited October 12, 2020 by Stilton Literary Agency