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Celebrating majestic trees "in situ" to inspire our leaders?

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:52 am
by christoph
Good morning, tree lovers!

I am so happy to have found this community of fellow scientists, tree scouts, and celebrators of nature. The conversations in this forum are an amazing testimony of how much love for nature big trees can inspire.

There are many ways to introduce yourself (one is However, this is a place for exchange. Instead of writing a monologue, I would like to invite you to a process of co-inspiration.

Below are a couple of maxims. Subjective principles of action that I believe to be sufficiently true to let them influence my life. As a scientist, I know how difficult it is to establish truth. Therefore, I’d like to expose them to the scrutiny of like-minded friends that, together, have accumulated hundreds of years of experience working towards a similar cause.

Do they resonate with you? Do they seem true? Under what circumstances? Can you think of personal stories or empirical evidence to bolster or refute? If not – what would you do to find out?


1. We would be better at protecting Earth’s natural riches if a deep passion for nature was anchored in the hearts of leaders at all levels of society.

2. Memorable interactions with majestic trees in natural settings can offer some of the most powerful experiences to stir such passion.

3. Existing opportunities for interactions with majestic trees are only accessible and attractive to, and thus embraced by, a small subset of leaders.

4. Growing and diversifying the ways people can experience and celebrate majestic trees “in situ” will expand the reach of their inspirational powers.

5. Such new forms of tree celebrations can be developed in ways that do not impair trees, their surroundings, or existing forms of appreciation.


Taken together, these maxims motivated me and a collective of friends to develop temporary performance art events in and around inspiring trees. For two summers, we have been getting better at tree climbing, circus arts, theater flying, light installations, interactive projections, rope course skills – and at minimizing the traces we leave. Now we wonder whether it would be a good idea to have this experimental canopy circus travel around the States next summer in order to facilitate majestic tree celebrations "in situ" - wherever people invite us over.

But what if we're wrong from the outset?

I'm utterly excited to hear what you think.


Re: Celebrating majestic trees "in situ" to inspire our lead

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:31 am
by Bart Bouricius
Glad to have you aboard Christoph. I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and creativity of your scientific and proformance art approach to conservation. It is clear that we need more and different approaches to forest conservation. I will later spend some time critiquing your maxums and methods as you request. Welcome to the group.

Re: Celebrating majestic trees "in situ" to inspire our lead

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:15 am
by Joe
Christoph, interesing to see the title of one of your papers, "Property Rights and Payments for Watershed Services from Forests
in China: An Exploratory Case Study of Beijing’s Miyun Reservoir". Are property rights recognized in China? I'll read the paper when I get a chance.

Re: Celebrating majestic trees "in situ" to inspire our lead

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:02 pm
by christoph
Bart - I'll be truly excited to hear your thoughts, given that you seem to have dedicated your life to tree care and the facilitation of canopy experiences around the world. I definitely hope we can bring the experience of this canopy collective to the Andes-Amazon. After all, it is first and foremost the direct observation of the extremely fickle nature conservation policies of Andes-Amazon countries (low priority for politics, strong dependence on insecure external funding) that informs my first maxim. I'll spend two months of this fall in Colombia for field research (15 parks) and will scout for trees!

Joe - thanks so much for your interest. That paper is actually my master thesis which I never published. Property rights in China are a VERY exciting topic (see summaries in thesis). Happy to open another thread on that topic.