Category Archives: Philosophy
Have you ever seen a photo of a newborn mammal? The way the light shines through the pink flesh, through the transparent eyelids and through the doughy snouts, a field of stars shining through every new finger and toe?
It shines through the new leaves in the same way.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the leaves…
Citing E. O. Wilson’s controversial notion of biophilia, arboriculturist Adam Winson asks, “Are we hard-wired to love trees?“
Australian blogger and vegetation ecologist Ian Lunt muses about the features that make a forest tick. How important are rain and flames in influencing how ironbark forests function in Southeast Australia? As global warming intensifies, it will be increasingly important to help these forests retain every drop of water they can, he suggests.
Even though my own home forest in the northeastern United States is very different, I was struck by Ian’s lead-in questions: “Which ecological process has the biggest impact on how your ecosystem changes over time?” And: “What if you’re wrong?” Do take the time to read this important think-piece.
Without necessarily casting any aspersions on forestry schools and the way they inculcate knowledge of trees and forests, I’d like to suggest that the way Rebecca has been doing it, as shared at her blog A Year With the Trees for the past two years, might be the best way to really understand our arborescent neighbors.
The 93 trees of “A Year With the Trees” have become a big part of my life. For the past two years, I sought each one of these trees, found them and sat with them. I have looked into their branches, looked closely at the veins in the leaves, at the branching, at the bark, at the land each of these trees lives in, and at the birds that live in the branches. I watched the bared branches of winter sprout new green growth in the spring. I watched the fullness of summer life that lives in the trees, and watched how summer turned into fall with the changing color. I watched as the gold, brown, red and yellow leaves fell to the ground. I have seen the branches laid bare once again awaiting new growth in the spring.
What’s next in 2012 for Rebecca’s apparently unending “year”? Click through to find out.
Another fascinating post from Mike at Under the Banyan, this time from last year, but still relevant as ever.
The first recorded tree-huggers were villagers in Rajasthan, India who sacrificed themselves in 1730 to protect khejri trees [...] that their community depended on.
The trees were materially important to the villagers in their dry desert landscape. They provided fodder for livestock and firewood for cooking. Their leaves and bark, flowers and sap were used in traditional medicines. The shade they created was a welcome haven for farmers who toiled in the blistering heat.
Maharaja Abhay Singh, the ruler of Jodhpur, had sent men to fell the trees but a brave woman called Amrita Devi offered to sacrifice her life if it would spare one tree. When the axe-men took her up on her offer and severed her head, her three daughters pleaded for the men to kill them too in place of the trees. They paid the same price.
Don’t miss the rest.
This year, 2011, marks the International Year of the Forest. But what is a forest? Judging by the works of several academics, it may not mean what we think it does, as arbiculturist Adam Winson explains. Here’s a snippet:
According to the FAO, both an industrial eucalyptus tree monoculture plantation and a rainforest with its hundreds of different tree species are classed as forest. But neighbours of such vegetation types would only recognize the rainforest as a forest, while a tree monoculture plantation would often be referred to as a “green desert”. The only similarity a neighbour may indeed observe is that both types of vegetation contain trees.