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Where can humans, trees and forests flourish?

Creating widespread and thriving forested-landscapes

Published onSep 07, 2020
Where can humans, trees and forests flourish?

I’m obsessed with exploring ways in which humans, trees and forests can flourish together.

This obsession regularly causes me to agonise over the practicalities of being human within ecological systems, to become intimate with the nuances of change, and to try and transform (or at least disrupt) the ‘industries’ of forestry, education and community-development in which I’m also enthralled.

So far, my efforts have resulted in establishing three organisations: The Woodland Presents Community Interest Company; Treelines Community Benefit Society Ltd and Woodlab. Between them, I am—and we are—experimenting with new ways in ‘doing’: restorative social forestry, community timber processing, regenerative settlement and afforestation.

Within these broad and cumbersome headings, I frequently find myself devising creative ways to coalesce together: people, resources and opportunities. Often I need to cultivate processes in which people come into closer relation with forests and each other. Sometimes I use tools to sculpt with wood in order to create an interface, a portal through which people can touch and enter into the grain of timber, and the place it’s situated. Sometimes I’m focussed on the art of inviting something new to happen in a place it’s currently not. Other times I’m simply digging a hole or emptying a bin.

It would be nice if I could write a convincing vision for my practice and projects here, and describe a neat and tidy linear process for making this manifest. I’m coming to realise however, that my works’ ‘success’ depends on my capacity to be responsive to its evolving definition. However, on a basic level, if I died having in some way created a more widespread and flourishing forested-landscape, and helped create a society which acted like it was important, I’d be pleased with that.

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