The Witness Trees

As the stillness of winter settles around us, I had the opportunity to take a walk with friends in the Creston Community Forest.  Some of the community forest lies within a 5-10min walk on Goat mountain to the NE of where we live.  We were harvesting boughs to make wreaths.

Forest on the northern tip of Vancouver Island

Walking in forests usually sets me at ease, allows the shifting thoughts in my mind settle in peaceful reflection.  The hiking club usually goes somewhere on Sundays, and I relish the time spent walking the forested mountains.

In the Ideas podcast, called 'The Witness Trees', I listened to the health benefits of spending time in a forest. Walking in forests can improve the flow of blood to the brain, similar to what you find if you were meditating.  It has also been found to increase some of your immune fighting cells.  Walking in the forest, or 'Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing' is used a medical treatment for various ailments and stress management in Japan.

Even programmers like forest bathing on the North Coast Trail, BC

The Witness Trees episode also explores our relationships to forests, both past, present and future.  It explores community forests, biodiversity, current logging practices, stewardship of land.

Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii

At about minute thirteen, I listened to Diana Bereseford-Kroeger read this excerpt out of her book, the Global Forest:

"In the forest, there is a rule of thumb that amplifies diversity.  Each specie of tree is responsible for about forty species of insects.  These insects are associated with the life style of that particular tree species.  A diverse forest therefore spells biodiversity- explodes and amplifies diversity in every range possible from the visible to the invisible.  It sets a pattern for predation and prey.  It lays the foundations of health."

Forests are so many things to so many people.  Explore what they mean to you.


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