Do you have a tree – friend?
What kind of bonds with the trees people have? What kind of tree attracts and why? Can tree have emotional value? How do we take care of trees important for us?
The research project “Trees Near Us” explores what makes some individual trees important to people. We want to find out what kind of connections are found between trees and people, how do they form and how they can be seen in everyday life.
“Trees Near Us” is an international and transdisciplinary research project, investigating the relationship of people with trees through science and art. It includes researchers from forest ecology, literature, and cultural anthropology, as well as professionals in the sound and photographic arts. The research is funded by the Finnish Kone Foundation on 2019-2022.
Research project is taking place in Finland and in the Netherlands. Finland and Netherlands represent contrasts in forest cover while still sharing a lot of similar cultural values. This combination makes them an interesting pair to compare how people feel about trees in their environment. Project is being led by the University of Eastern Finland, and University of Turku (Finland) and Wageningen University (the Netherlands) are taking part to the study.
We are collecting data both from Finland and from the Netherlands. We use answers collected with online questionnaire to find example pairs about typical relationships between human and tree. More examples are found from the fiction literature. Stories about trees are gathered also by interviews. We approach the subject through contrasts. We look at trees in old and young urban culture and the differences in the relationship between the metropolitan area, small towns and the countryside, as well as between the Netherlands and Finland.
Research knowledge increases understanding of the cultural meanings of trees. This kind of understanding can be useful in urban– and forest planning, as well in the management of green areas.
Tell your story!
We are collecting information about tree-relationships in Finland and Neatherlands. If you are living in some other country, we would be delighted to hear about your special tree anyway! It takes only 15 minutes of your time.
Dr. Juul Limpens (Netherlands), Plant Ecology and Nature conservation group, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Juul.Limpens [at] wur.nl, tel. +31 483173
Dr. Eeva-Stiina Tuittila (Finland), University of Eastern Finland
eeva-stiina.tuittila [at] uef.fi, tel. +358 50 4424299