Professor Kyle Rose leads a reading series at Donnelly Library on the subject of human and forest communities.


Las Vegas, N.M. – An upcoming reading group at New Mexico Highlands will explore the interaction between and among forest and human communities.

Kyle Rose, a Highlands University forestry professor, will lead the Forest Communities reading group.

“We live in New Mexico surrounded by forests and we both recreate in them and depend upon them,” Rose said. “The continued function of forests is important for both the ecology and economy of Northern New Mexico.”

The free book discussions are from 6 – 7 p.m. in Donnelly Library, 802 National Ave., on these dates:

  • February 26 – The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed by John Vaillant
  • March 26 – The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate –Discoveries from A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
  • April 23 – The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed is about Grant Hadwin, who worked in the forest industry in the Pacific Northwest in the United States and then became an environmentalist, explained Rose. The book was first published in 2005.

“Ironically, Hadwin’s form of protest was to cut down one of the most iconic trees of the region – one that was culturally important to local indigenous communities,” Rose said.

Published in 2015, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from A Secret World is the first book in New York Times bestselling author Peter Wohlleben’s The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy.

The Hidden Life of Trees is about how trees communicate with one another in many different ways, ranging from chemical gradients in the soil to potentially audible signals. It’s a new area of plant and ecological science that raises many questions about the relationship between neighboring trees,” Rose said.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America is a New York Times bestseller published in 2010.

 “This is an historical book that recounts a massive 1910 forest fire in the Washington, Idaho and Montana national forests that burned about three million acres, an area roughly the size of Connecticut. This 1910 forest fire was 10 to 15 times the size of the Carr and Camp fires that burned in Northern California in 2018 and killed 91 people,” Rose said.

Kyle said the Great Fire of 1910, as it is known, catalyzed support for the U.S. Forest Service and firefighters in particular.

“It was the beginning of more modern fire suppression and firefighting practices in the U.S.,” Rose said.

Rose, who earned his Ph.D. in forest biology from Purdue University in 2017, joined the Highlands faculty the same year. He also holds a master’s degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University.

At Highlands, Rose teaches courses such as Humans and Ecosystems, Forest Management, and Agroforestry. His research is published in scholarly journals like Forest Ecology Management and Agricultural Sciences.

“Forests play an important role in regulating vital ecosystem services like water quality and quantity. For our communities’ continued existence, we have to think about our relationships to forests,” Kyle said.

April Kent, a Donnelly librarian and head of public services, coordinates the library’s reading groups.

“The reading groups are informal, and I encourage people to join the discussion whenever they can,” Kent said. “At Donnelly we offer free library cards to area residents. All the books are available at the library.”

For more information, contact Kent at 505-454-3139,, or visit the library.