Diana Beresford-Kroeger

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Diana Bernadette Beresford-Kroeger (born July 25, 1944) is an Irish botanist, medical biochemist and author, born in Islington, England and resides near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (citizenship: Canadian, Irish, British).

She is known for her ability to bring an understanding and appreciation of the scientific complexities of nature to the general public. "Diana Beresford-Kroeger is one of the rare individuals who can accomplish this outwardly simple but inwardly complex and difficult translation from the non-human to human realms," E.O. Wilson wrote in the forward to Arboretum America, a Philosophy of the Forest by Beresford-Kroeger.[1]

Early life[edit]

Beresford-Kroeger was orphaned at a young age and raised in Ireland by a bachelor uncle, Patrick O'Donoghue, who was a noted athlete, chemist, scholar and bibliophile. He nurtured her quest for knowledge and encouraged her to read and discuss everything from Irish poetry, world religions and philosophy to physics and quantum mechanics. She attended private schools in Ireland and England. Her summers were spent in the countryside in West Cork and Kerry, which is where she received the lessons of her folk lineage.[2]


Beresford-Kroeger completed her undergraduate studies at University College Cork (UCC), graduating first in her year (1963) with a Bachelor of Science honours in botany and medical biochemistry. She completed a Master of Science degree at UCC in 1965. Her thesis was: Frost Resistance and Gibberellins in the Plant Kingdom. She received a fellowship at the University of Connecticut to study nuclear radiation in biological systems and organic chemistry. She completed a diploma in experimental surgery at the University of Ottawa’s department of surgery, while engaged in cardiovascular research (1973). Beresford-Kroeger received a Ph.D. in Biology from Carleton University in 2019.  Her thesis was on Myocardial Ischemia and the use of non-typing artificial blood in hemodilution.[citation needed]

Early Work[edit]

Beresford-Kroeger worked as a research scientist at the University of Ottawa and then at the Canadian Department of Agriculture Electron Microscopy Centre, where she discovered cathodoluminescence in biological materials (1972).[3] From 1973 to 1982, she conducted research at the University of Ottawa, physiology department in conjunction with the Ottawa Heart Institute, specializing in hemodynamics.[3][4][5][6][7]

Later Work[edit]

In the early 1980s, Beresford-Kroeger embarked on a significant change in her life's work. It began with an expansion of her private research garden and arboretum: Carrigliath. Having identified an absence in the scientific community of the ability to present science to the public and the urgent need to address the degradation of nature, she began her career in writing, broadcasting and lecturing.[2] Flowing from her research and experience at Carrigliath, Beresford-Kroeger published over 200 articles in magazines, journals and newspapers in Canada, the United States and internationally. She also published five critically acclaimed books on nature and gardening.[2]

She has served as a scientific advisor to a number of organizations, including the Irish Woodland League, Ecology Ottawa, Hidden Harvest of Ottawa, Canadian Organic Growers, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and the Acadian Forest Research Centre and others. Beresford-Kroeger has lectured widely across North America and Europe and has appeared on television and radio in Canada, the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

Completed in 2016, Diana Beresford-Kroeger is featured in Jeff McKay's theatrical documentary, 'Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees', co-produced by Merit Motion Pictures, Edgeland Films, and Treespeak Films - http://calloftheforest.ca/ - An extensive educational app on tree planting in North America is available with the film. Beresford-Kroeger was also featured in the PBS documentary The Truth About Trees, produced and directed by Ross Spears.[8]


  • To Speak for The Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest, Random House Canada, 2019.  ISBN 978-0-7352-7507-2
  • The Sweetness of a Simple Life: Tips for Healthier, Happier and Kinder Living Gleaned from the Wisdom and Science of Nature, Random House LLC, 2013 ISBN 978-0-345-81295-7
  • The Global Forest: Forty Ways Trees Can Save Us, Viking Penguin 2010 ISBN 0-14-312016-6
  • Arboretum Borealis: A Lifeline of the Planet, University of Michigan Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0-472-05114-4
  • A Garden for Life: The Natural Approach to Designing, Planting, and Maintaining a North Temperate Garden, University of Michigan Press, 2004, previously published as Bioplanning a North Temperate Garden, Quarry Press, 1999 ISBN 978-0-472-03012-5
  • Time Will Tell: Stories of the Rideau Valley, Quarry Press, 2004 ISBN 978-1-55082-343-1
  • Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest, University of Michigan Press, 2003 ISBN 978-0-472-06851-7
  • International Handbook of Forest Therapy,, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2019 ISBN 978-1-5275-3955-6


  • 2010: Elected Fellow by Wings WorldQuest, an international organization "dedicated to recognizing and supporting visionary women"
  • 2011: Selected by the Utne Reader as one of their Utne reader Visionaries for 2011
  • 2013: Elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society
  • 2019: The Board of Governors and Senate of Carleton University recognized Beresford-Kroeger's outstanding efforts towards preserving the earth's climate and forests through use of ethical scientific and traditional concepts, by conferring upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.


  1. ^ Wilson, E.O., 2004. Forward to Arboretum America, a Philosophy of the Forest, University of Michigan Press; ISBN 978-0-472-06851-7
  2. ^ a b c The Sweetness of a Simple Life, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Random House; (2013), ISBN 978-0-345-81295-7
  3. ^ a b Improved cathodoluminescence microscopy, E. F. Bond, Diana Beresford, G. H. Haggis, first published in the Journal of Microscopy, Volume 100, Issue 3, pages 271–282, April 1974, copyright Blackwell Science Ltd, first published online: August 2, 2011
  4. ^ Early deleterious hemorheologic changes following acute experimental coronary occlusion and salutary antihyperviscosity effect of hemodilution with stroma-free hemoglobin. Biro GP, Beresford-Kroeger D, Hendry P. Am. Heart J. 1982 May;103(5):870-8.
  5. ^ The effect of propranolol on blood viscosity changes induced by experimental coronary occlusion. Biro GP, Beresford-Kroeger D. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1984 Oct;62(10):1333-7.
  6. ^ Myocardial blood flow and O2-supply following dextran-haemodilution and methaemoglobinaemia in the dog. Biro GP, Beresford-Kroeger D. Cardiovasc Res. 1979 Aug;13(8):459-68.
  7. ^ Myocardial oxygen-supply during hemodilution with stroma-free hemoglobin and methemoglobin solutions. Biro GP, Beresford-Kroeger D, Smith BV.Prog Clin Biol Res. 1978;19:213-26.
  8. ^ "Documentary film series and story project about the indispensable role of trees for life on Earth". The Truth About Trees. Retrieved 10 August 2018.

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