Sylva, Or, a Discourse of Forest Trees
John Evelyn (1620–1706), intellectual, diarist, gardener and founder member of the Royal Society, is best known for his Diary, the great journal of his life and times, encompassing a momentous period in British history. A lifelong collector of books, like his contemporary Pepys, Evelyn amassed over 4,000 items in his library. This work, originally published in 1664, was the first English-language treatise on forestry. Intended for the gentry, it aimed to encourage tree-planting after the ravages of the Civil War and to ensure a supply of timber for Britain's fast-developing navy. The first work sponsored officially by the Royal Society, it was an offshoot of Evelyn's unpublished manuscript Elysium Britannicum, a compendium of gardens and gardening. This is the 1908 two-volume reprint of the fourth edition, published in the year of Evelyn's death. Volume 1 describes different species of tree, deciduous and evergreen, and includes an introductory biography of Evelyn by John Nisbet (1858–1914).