Festival of The Trees – October 2011
It is Autumn, a time to literally take stock, an emotional season where us as human beings realise the importance of the natural world to our own existence. Harvest time for us, where our trees provide us with food and more and in watching the trees shed their leaves in preparation for the winter realise that it is a season of importance in feeding much smaller organisms than ourselves.
It is Autumn in the Northern hemisphere in the International Year of the Forests, designated to make us aware of the importance of forests, lest we forget. Regrettably it is also a year which has seen the passing away of two great tree heros, Merv Wilkinson and Wanagri Maathai who had both continued to champion trees and their importance to us in realising a sustainable life, throughout a period of time when much of the worlds population were starting to forget the inherited wealth the forests and trees provided for them.
I am a Forester, I am relatively new to the realm of the internet and its power to communicate beyond all boundaries, my decision to search for tree related material on the internet was due to the threats which our forests and trees are facing, which are greater than they ever have been. Pests, diseases and non native invasive plants threaten forests and trees across the world, a problem exasperated by climate change.
All forestry and arboricultural practitioners are disenfranchised by the lack of communicating what problems there are with our trees as well as what we do and why to the general public, it is the subject matter of much industry discussion. Our own voices have often been replaced by those from other industries.
The discovery of the wealth of tree information in social media and the blogosphere was overwhelming to me. It tied in with the academic thinking, introduced into European law, that landscapes belong to all of us, no matter where we live. The elements contained in a landscape of which trees are arguably the most prominent feature are a vital element of our sense of place and belonging.
Everybody’s voice in how they view trees is relevant; in doing so they provide a knowledge base that surpasses even the grandest of expectations, a wealth of discovery and experiences which cannot be lessened or abused by any one person, group or government. Shared discoveries of our indigenous trees as well as those that have adapted into our landscapes are being made by people from across the whole spectrum of society transcending international boundaries.
From the blogs where individuals have taken the time to discover the attributes of trees, their responses in a shared existence to how they affect emotions and thus add to our creative thinking in turn building up our cultural heritage, locally through to internationally.
Trees are our past, present and future, to understand this more we need to listen to everybody. The voice of the homeless using the shelter of a tree is as relevant as that of a professor.
Governments, us in the industry and anyone else wishing to discuss trees or discover ways of introducing policies which will be palatable to all simply need to join in. It is free and inexhaustive, but is a revolution, that can only serve to ensure that our trees are protected as best they can be as our knowledge of trees grows more rapidly than it ever has done before.
These are our shared trees in our shared landscape, shared with our communities and with the biodiversity so important to maintain our lifecycle.
My many thanks to all contributors and the range of infomartion and art you have shared.