Forests (also referred to as a wood or the woods) are communities of living organisms characterized by the presence of trees that have symbiotic relationships with each other and the physical environment. The trees of a forest constitute the larger part of their biomass. Different cultures have varying definitions of what a forest may be, in terms of size and of what the forest is composed of. Forests also contain roughly 90 percent of the world's terrestrial biodiversity.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- It was a though we’d been living for a year in a dense grove of old trees, a cluster of firs, each with its own rhythm and character, from whom our bodies had drawn not just shelter but perhaps even a kind of guidance as we grew into a family.
- Gifford Pinchot points out that in colonial and pioneer days the forest was a foe and an obstacle to the settler. It had to be cleared away... But [now] as a nation we have not yet come to have a proper respect for the forest and to regard it as an indispensable part of our resources—one which is easily destroyed but difficult to replace; one which confers great benefits while it endures, but whose disappearance is accompanied by a train of evil consequences not readily foreseen and positively irreparable.
- The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life activity; it provides protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axe man who destroys it.
- Gautama Buddha in: John Alexander, James D. Lazell Ribbon of Sand: The Amazing Convergence of the Ocean and the Outer Banks, UNC Press Books, 2000, p. 91.
- Forests were the first temples of the Divinity, and it is in the forests that men have grasped the first idea of architecture.
- A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees The forests condition the climate, the climate influences the character of the people, and so on and so forth. There is no civilization, no happiness, where forests shudder beneath the axe, where the climate is cruel and hard, where the people are also cruel and hard. A terrible future!
- But when on shore, and wandering in the sublime forests, surrounded by views more gorgeous than even Claude ever imagined, I enjoy a delight which none but those who have experienced it can understand. If it is to be done, it must be by studying Humboldt.
- Charles Darwin in a letter to W D Fox, May 1832 quoted in:A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox, Springer Science & Business Media, 6 July 2009, p. 117.
- Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and Decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature: no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
- You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is not only vital for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself — a point that seems to escape many people.
- I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
A Delphic shrine to me.
- Active conservation [of gorillas.] involves simply going out into the forest, on foot, day after day after day, attempting to capture poachers, killing—regretfully—poacher dogs, which spread rabies within the park, and cutting down traps.
- Dian Fossey in: Naturalist Dian Fossey Slain at Camp in Rwanda : American Was Expert on Mountain Gorillas; Assailants Hunted, Los Angeles Times, 29 December 1985.
G - L
- As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged on the shingly beach of a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.
- This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,
This land was made for you and me.
- Woody Guthrie in: Brandon Chase Goldsmith A New Form of Political Theater: The United Church of America, ProQuest, 2009, p. 143.
- A forest ecology is a delicate one. If the forest perishes, its fauna may go with it. The Athshean word for world is also the word for forest.
- I am above the forest region, amongst grand rocks & such a torrent as you see in Salvator Rosa's paintings vegetation all a scrub of rhodods with Pines below me as thick & bad to get through as our Fuegian Fagi on the hill tops, & except the towering peaks of P. S. [perpetual snow] that, here shoot up on all hands there is little difference in the mt scenery—here however the blaze of Rhod. flowers and various colored jungle proclaims a differently constituted region in a naturalists eye & twenty species here, to one there, always are asking me the vexed question, where do we come from?
- Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker in: Ray Desmond Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker: Traveller and Plant Collector, Antique Collectors' Club, 1999, p. 148.
- From Kurseong a very steep zig zag leads up to the mountains [Himalayas in Bengal] through a magnificent forest of chestnut, walnut, Oaks and laurels. It is difficult to conceive a grander mass of vegetation:—the straight shafts of the timber-trees shooting aloft, some naked and clean, with grey, pale, or brown bark; others literally clothed for yards with a continuous garment of epiphytes, one mass of blossoms, especially the white Orchids Caelogynes, which bloom in a profuse manner, whitening their trunks like snow. More bulky trunks were masses of interlacing climbers, Araliaceae, Leguminosae, Vines, and Menispermeae, Hydrangea, and Peppers, enclosing a hollow, once filled by the now strangled supporting tree, which has long ago decayed away. From the sides and summit of these, supple branches hung forth, either leafy or naked; the latter resembling cables flung from one tree to another, swinging in the breeze, their rocking motion increased by the weight of great bunches of ferns or Orchids, which were perched aloft in the loops. Perpetual moisture nourishes this dripping forest: and pendulous mosses and lichens are met with in profusion.
- Nevertheless most of the evergreen forests of the north must always remain the home of wild animals and trappers, a backward region in which it is easy for a great fur company to maintain a practical monopoly.
- Ellsworth Huntington in: The Red Man's Continent: A Chronicle of Aboriginal America, Library of Alexandria, 192761, p. 61.
- A single-file army of ants biting a mammoth tree into uniform grains and hauling it down to the dark for their ravenous queen. and, in reply, a choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of death. this forest eats itself and lives forever.
- Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the Law runneth forward and back;
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
- As he rose to his feet he noticed that he was neither dripping nor panting for breath as anyone would expect after being under water. His clothes were perfectly dry. He was standing by the edge of a small pool—not more than ten feet from side to side in a wood. The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky. All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm. It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind. You could almost feel the trees growing. The pool he had just got out of was not the only pool. There were dozens of others—a pool every few yards as far as his eyes could reach. You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots. This wood was very much alive.
- C.S. Lewis in: The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7-Book Collection with Bonus Book: Boxen, Harper Collins, 5 November 2013, p. 28.
- In order to explore the effect of forest bathing on human immune function, we investigated natural killer (NK) activity; the number of NK cells, and perforin, granzymes and granulysin-expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) during a visit to forest fields. Twelve healthy male subjects, age 37-55 years, were selected with informed consent from three large companies in Tokyo, Japan. The subjects experienced a three-day/two-night trip in three different forest fields. On the first day, subjects walked for two hours in the afternoon in a forest field; and on the second day, they walked for two hours in the morning and afternoon, respectively, in two different forest fields. Blood was sampled on the second and third days, and NK activity; proportions of NK, T cells, granulysin, perforin, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells in PBL were measured. Similar measurements were made before the trip on a normal working day as the control. Almost all of the subjects (11/12) showed higher NK activity after the trip (about 50 percent increased) compared with before. There are significant differences both before and after the trip and between days 1 and 2 in NK activity. The forest bathing trip also significantly increased the numbers of NK, perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells. Taken together, these findings indicate that a forest bathing trip can increase NK activity, and that this effect at least partially mediated by increasing the number of NK cells and by the induction of intracellular anti-cancer proteins.
- Q Li, K Morimoto, A Nakadai, H Inagaki, M Katsumata, T Shimizu, Y Hirata, K Hirata, H Suzuki, Y Miyazaki, T Kagawa, Y Koyama, T Ohira, N Takayama, A M Krensky, T Kawada; “Forest bathing enhances human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins”, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. Apr-Jun 2007;20(2 Suppl 2):3-8.
- We previously reported that forest bathing trips enhanced human NK activity, number of NK cells, and intracellular anti-cancer proteins in lymphocytes, and that the increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip in male subjects. In the present study, we investigated the effect of forest bathing trip on human NK activity in female subjects. Thirteen healthy nurses, age 25-43 years, professional career 4-18 years, were selected with informed consent. The subjects experienced a three-day/two-night trip to forest fields. On day 1, the subjects walked for two hours in the afternoon in a forest field; on day 2, they walked for two hours each in the morning and afternoon in two different forest fields; and on day 3, the subjects finished the trip and returned to Tokyo after drawing blood and completing a questionnaire. Blood and urine were sampled on the second and third days during the trip, and on days 7 and 30 after the trip. NK activity, numbers of NK and T cells, and granulysin, perforin, and granzymes A/B-expressing lymphocytes in the blood samples, the concentrations of estradiol and progesterone in serum, and the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine were measured. Similar control measurements were made before the trip on a normal working day. The concentrations of phytoncides in the forests were measured. The forest bathing trip significantly increased NK activity and the numbers of NK, perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells and significantly decreased the percentage of T cells, and the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine. The increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene were detected in forest air. These findings indicate that a forest bathing trip also increased NK activity, number of NK cells, and levels of intracellular anti-cancer proteins in female subjects, and that this effect lasted at least 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides released from trees and decreased stress hormone levels may partially contribute to the increased NK activity.
- Q Li, K Morimoto, M Kobayashi, H Inagaki, M Katsumata, Y Hirata, K Hirata, T Shimizu, Y J Li, Y Wakayama, T Kawada, T Ohira, N Takayama, T Kagawa, Y Miyazaki; “A forest bathing trip increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins in female subjects”, J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. Jan-Mar 2008;22(1):45-55.
- We previously reported that 2-night/3-day trips to forest parks enhanced human NK activity, the number of NK cells, and intracellular anti-cancer proteins in lymphocytes, and that this increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip in both male and female subjects. In the present study, we investigated the effect of a day trip to a forest park on human NK activity in male subjects. Twelve healthy male subjects, aged 35-53 years, were selected after giving informed consent. The subjects experienced a day trip to a forest park in the suburbs of Tokyo. They walked for two hours in the morning and afternoon, respectively, in the forest park on Sunday. Blood and urine were sampled in the morning of the following day and 7 days after the trip, and the NK activity, numbers of NK and T cells, and granulysin, perforin, and granzyme A/B-expressing lymphocytes, the concentration of cortisol in blood samples, and the concentration of adrenaline in urine were measured. Similar measurements were made before the trip on a weekend day as the control. Phytoncide concentrations in the forest were measured. The day trip to the forest park significantly increased NK activity and the numbers of CD16(+) and CD56(+) NK cells, perforin, granulysin, and granzyme A/B-expressing NK cells and significantly decreased CD4(+) T cells, the concentrations of cortisol in the blood and adrenaline in urine. The increased NK activity lasted for 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides, such as isoprene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene, were detected in the forest air. These findings indicate that the day trip to the forest park also increased the NK activity, number of NK cells, and levels of intracellular anti-cancer proteins, and that this effect lasted for at least 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides released from trees and decreased stress hormone levels may partially contribute to the increased NK activity.
- Qing Li, M Kobayashi, H Inagaki, Y Hirata, Y J Li, K Hirata, T Shimizu, H Suzuki, M Katsumata, Y Wakayama, T Kawada, T Ohira, N Matsui, T Kagawa; “A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects”, J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. Apr-Jun 2010;24(2):157-65.
- This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
M - R
- For a moment the forest seemed a deep green sea, storm-tossed and heaving, eternal and unknowable.
- George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings, Jon (IV)
- As the atmosphere's most abundant element, nitrogen plays a significant role in ecosystems, and one to which scientists and policymakers are paying greater attention. Growing evidence suggests that as humanity pumps more nitrogen into the environment, forests could become bigger carbon sinks and help mitigate climate change. But experts warn that it's a dangerous experiment that could have serious consequences.
Nitrogen comes from a vast array of sources: farm fertilizer, car exhaust, factory and power plant emissions. Scientists expect nitrogen deposition this century to jump two to three times above current levels, dramatically influencing the planet's environment and thermostat.
"It is pretty important to recognize that human effects on the nitrogen cycle have significant effects on climate," said Alan Townsend, North America director of the International Nitrogen Initiative.
That's why Kurt Pregitzer of the University of Nevada, Reno and his fellow researchers essentially fertilized four experimental forests in northern Michigan. They applied nitrogen at two to three times current concentrations—about what society is expected to emit a century from now, thanks to increasing use of fertilizer and fuel.
Tree growth, as expected, took off, with the newly formed wood absorbing and storing more carbon. The surprise was what happened on the forest floor.
There scientists found that decomposition of twigs and other tree litter slowed. Lignin—the tough substance that gives vegetables their crunch and is quite good at storing carbon—proved more resistant to the forest floor's microbes.
Those microbes, said Pregitzer, are "the gatekeepers of carbon transformation."
"What we didn't anticipate was that storage of carbon in soil is directly altered by the addition of nitrogen," he said. "The really novel part, I think, is that the microbial community is actually altered."
This is significant, said team member Donald Zak of the University of Michigan. With microbes dining lightly on lignin, more dead plant matter stays in the soil.
Zak said this litter traps as much carbon as the robustly growing trees—a considerable boost to the forest's ability to sequester carbon emissions.
Scientists don't yet understand the mechanisms that slow the decomposition, Zak cautioned. It's a crucial question they'll need to answer if they hope to understand the role that forests play in carbon sequestration.
- Andrew McGlashen, “Can Nitrogen Be Used to Combat Climate Change”, Scientific American, (January 8, 2009)
- When you talk about plants, or an ecological system or forest, things are very easy if you decide that bad people ruined it. But that's not what humans have been doing. It's not bad people who are destroying forests.
- During the Edo era, many beautiful forests were raised, but that was because trees were planted to finance a Han (feudal domain). So if someone cut even one branch off, they cut his arm or head off. That's how they protected and raised the forest. And since the farmers around the forests were really poor, they hoped that they somehow could cut the trees in the domain.
If we had only talked about this situation from the human's side, there would have been no forest. Because of such terrible power, the forests were born. Then, there is actually a dilemma between the issue of humanism and growing a forest. It is exactly the problem of the environmental destruction we are facing on a global scale. This is the complexity in the relationship between humans and nature.
- Swamp Thing: Always guns. Are they...your only...solution? You can shoot...the animals...in the forest...but you cannot shoot the forest.
- Harvey Bullock: I think we can chip the bark a little.
- It was strangely like war. They attacked the forest as if it were an enemy to be pushed back from the beachheads, driven into the hills, broken into patches, and wiped out. Many operators thought they were not only making lumber but liberating the land from the trees...
- Murray Morgan on the first logging of the U.S. Olympic Peninsula in his book “Last Wilderness” quoted in: William Dietrich The Final Forest: big trees, forks, and the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, 15 July 2011, p. 24.
- Each generation of humanity takes the earth as trustees...We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.
- J. Sterling Morton in: John Zinkin Challenges in Implementing Corporate Governance: Whose Business is it Anyway, John Wiley & Sons, 8 November 2011, p. 183.
- In studying the fate of our forest king, we have thus far considered the action of purely natural causes only; but, unfortunately, man is in the woods, and waste and pure destruction are making rapid headway. If the importance of the forests were even vaguely understood, even from an economic standpoint, their preservation would call forth the most watchful attention of government.
- John Muir in: The Writings of John Muir Volume 4 - Chapter VIII. The Forests, Electric Scotland's Classified Directory
- Indians walk softly and hurt the landscape hardly more than the birds and squirrels, and their brush and bark huts last hardly longer than those of wood rats, while their more enduring monuments, excepting those wrought on the forests by the fires they made to improve their hunting grounds, vanish in a few centuries.
- The battle we have fought, and are still fighting, for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it.... So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for.
- John Muir in: Fred Van Dyke Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications, Springer Science & Business Media, 29 February 2008, p. 11.
- The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. The living and dead look well together in woods. Trees receive a most beautiful burial. Nature takes fallen trees gently to her bosom — at rest from storms. They seem to have called home out of the sky to sleep now.
- John Muir in: John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1979, p. 313.
- The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.
- Article XIV of the New York state constitution, as adopted by a public vote in 1894, with language first adopted in statute in 1885. Often described as the "forever wild clause", and the most stringent level of protection for land in the state, it was the first time any government had held land for conservation purposes in perpetuity (many subsequent constitutional amendments have allowed small land transfers for public purposes, or allowed certain tracts of land owned by the state to be used for other purposes).
- More than 100 years ago, author Rudyard Kipling discovered inspiration for The Jungle Book in the heart of India, in this region now partly designated as Kanha National Park — vast, teeming with tigers, leopards, cheetahs, sloth bears, gaur (Indian bison) and countless species of other fauna and flora. That was before a century of poachers, big-game hunters and ill-conceived policies preyed on many species to the brink of extinction. Today, however, the mighty [the name jungle [an Indian word usage in Sanskrit for forest] and its surviving wildlife are experiencing a renaissance, thanks in large part to international efforts to save tigers.
- One day when the sun had come back over the Forest, bringing with it the scent of May, and all the streams of the Forest were tinkling happily to find themselves their own pretty shape again, and the little pools lay dreaming of the life they had seen and the big things they had done, and in the warmth and quiet of the Forest the cuckoo was trying over his voice carefully and listening to see if he liked it, and wood-pigeons were complaining gently to themselves in their lazy comfortable way that it was the other fellow's fault, but it didn't matter very much.
- The greatest book is not the one whose message engraves itself on the brain, as a telegraphic message engraves itself on the ticker-tape, but the one whose vital impact opens up other viewpoints, and from writer to reader spreads the fire that is fed by the various essences, until it becomes a vast conflagration leaping from forest to forest.
- A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it were, a factory of wood.
- If in a given community unchecked popular rule means unlimited waste and destruction of the natural resources—soil, fertility, waterpower, forests, game, wild-life generally—which by right belong as much to subsequent generations as to the present generation, then it is sure proof that the present generation is not yet really fit for self-control, that it is not yet really fit to exercise the high and responsible privilege of a rule which shall be both by the people and for the people. The term “for the people” must always include the people unborn as well as the people now alive, or the democratic ideal is not realized.
- Theodore Roosevelt in: In the Words of Theodore Roosevelt: Quotations from the Man in the Arena, Cornell University Press, 24 September 2012
- For a stone, when it is examined, will be found a mountain in miniature. The fineness of Nature's work is so great, that, into a single block, a foot or two in diameter, she can compress as many changes of form and structure, on a small scale, as she needs for her mountains on a large one; and, taking moss for forests, and grains of crystal for crags, the surface of a stone, in by far the plurality of instances, is more interesting than the surface of an ordinary hill; more fantastic in form and incomparably richer in colour—the last quality being, in fact, so noble in most stones of good birth (that is to say, fallen from the crystalline mountain ranges.
- Build your nest upon no tree here, for ye see that God hath sold the forest to death; and every tree whereupon we would meet is ready to be cut down, to the end we might flee and mount up, and build upon the Rock, and dwell in the holes of the Rock
- Samuel Rutherford in: John Bate A cyclopaedia of illustrations of moral and religious truths:, E. Stock, 1865, p. 65.
S - Z
- Forests and trees make significant direct contributions to the nutrition of poor households … [as] rural communities in Central Africa obtained a critical portion of protein and fat in their diets through hunting wildlife from in and around forests. The five to six million tonnes of bushmeat eaten yearly in the Congo Basin is roughly equal to the total amount of beef produced annually in Brazil – without the accompanying need to clear huge swathes of forest for cattle.
- Frances Seymour in: FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, fao.org
- Once the forest has been removed and the swamp starts being drained, that organic matter begins to oxidise and give off continuing emissions. It’s sort of like the goose that keeps on giving.
- Frances Seymour in: Stephen de Tarczynski Environment-Indonesia: Deforestation Causing More Than Landslides, Inter Press Service News Agency 9 March 2008.
- You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends.
may come back.
- Dr. Seuss in: Nancy Vansieleghem, David Kennedy Philosophy for Children in Transition: Problems and Prospects, John Wiley & Sons, 17 January 2012, p. 191.
- If you are afraid of wolves, keep out of the woods.
- It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
- Robert Louis Stevenson in "Forest Notes" (1875-1876) "Morality" also in "The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Vol. IX : Essays and Reviews (1906)" edited by Charles Curis Bigelow and Temple Scott, p. 133, quoted in Raven Kaldera Moon phase Astrology: The Lunar Key to Your Destiny, Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, 28 March 2011 , p. 29.
- The forests are sources of water and the storehouses of a biodiversity that can teach us the lessons of democracy—of leaving space for others while drawing sustenance from the common web of life. There is unity with nature as the highest stage of human evolution.
- Rabindranath Tagore in “The Religion of the Forest” quoted in: Vandana Shiva, Vandana Shiva: Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest, Yes Magazine, 5 December 2012
- In “The Religion of the Forest” he wrote on the influence that the forest dwellers of ancient India had on classical Indian literature
- Great inventions are never, and great discoveries are seldom, the work of any one mind. Every great invention is really an aggregation of minor inventions, or the final step of a progression. It is not usually a creation, but a growth, as truly so as is the growth of the trees in the forest.
- In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku”, which can be defined as “taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing” is currently receiving increasing attention for its capacity to provide relaxation and reduce stress. Humans empirically recognize that getting in touch with nature provides a feeling of comfort. In carrying out their investigations on “Shinrin-yoku”, the authors of this article have assumed that the reason underlying this feeling of comfort with “nature” or “natural matters” is closely linked with the human evolutionary process. Frumkin supports this view and reports that a deep-seated connection between the natural world and humans is unsurprising from an evolutionary perspective; based on this description, we have also assumed that human physiological functions have had to adapt to the natural environment through the course of evolution. Consequently, living in our modern “artificial” society is inherently stressful. Given this background, it should be natural for humans to feel a sense of comfort or affinity with the natural environment.
“Shinrin-yoku” is considered to be one of the most accessible ways to get in touch with the natural world and to lower excessive stress to levels that are commensurate with what our bodies are “expected” to cope with. In Western societies, this approach has been incorporated into the lives of individuals since the nineteenth century. The best known example of this may be Kneipp therapy in Germany. Kneipp therapy utilizes forests mainly as the fields for exercise therapy, which is one of the five pillars of the method. However, although Kneipp therapy somewhat realizes the concept of “Shinrin-yoku” in a practical context, its precedents in the Western countries are based mostly on empirical knowledge. The effects of “Shinrin-yoku” have yet to be verified by scientific evidence.
The term “Shinrin-yoku” and its concept were introduced in Japan by the Forest Agency of the Japanese government in 1982. Over the 25 years that have passed since then, interest in stress control or relaxation among those living in our modern-day society has greatly increased. In addition, in the fields of medicine and nursing, there has been a trend toward evidence-based medicine or nursing, emphasizing the need for scientific evidence. Based on this social background, in 2005, the Forest Agency instituted the “Therapeutic Effects of Forests Plan,” which emphasizes the importance of scientific investigation.
- Yuko Tsunetsugu, Bum-Jin Park, and Yoshifumi Miyazaki, “Trends in research related to “Shinrin-yoku” (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing) in Japan”, Environ Health Prev Med. 2010 Jan; 15(1): 27–37.
- The image of a wood has appeared often enough in English verse. It has indeed appeared so often that it has gathered a good deal of verse into itself; so that it has become a great forest where, with long leagues of changing green between them, strange episodes of poetry have taken place. Thus in one part there are lovers of a midsummer night, or by day a duke and his followers, and in another men behind branches so that the wood seems moving, and in another a girl separated from her two lordly young brothers, and in another a poet listening to a nightingale but rather dreaming richly of the grand art than there exploring it, and there are other inhabitants, belonging even more closely to the wood, dryads, fairies, an enchanter's rout. The forest itself has different names in different tongues- Westermain, Arden, Birnam, Broceliande; and in places there are separate trees named, such as that on the outskirts against which a young Northern poet saw a spectral wanderer leaning, or, in the unexplored centre of which only rumours reach even poetry, Igdrasil of one myth, or the Trees of Knowledge and Life of another. So that indeed the whole earth seems to become this one enormous forest, and our longest and most stable civilizations are only clearings in the midst of it.
Felling and deforestation
- I very much lament for what has happened to the groves in Madhura. The coconut trees have all been cut and in their place are to be seen rows of iron spikes with human skulls dangling at the points.
- When the blessed canopy had been fixed about a mile from the gate of Arangal, the tents around the fort were pitched together so closely that the head of a needle could not go between them… Orders were issued that every man should erect behind his own tent a kathgar, that is wooden defence. The trees were cut with axes and felled, notwithstanding their groans; and the Hindus, who worship trees, could not at that time come to the rescue of their idols, so that every cursed tree which was in that capital of idolatry was cut down to the roots…
- Amir Khusrow in Khazainu’l-Futuh. About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) and his generals conquests in Warangal (Andhra Pradesh) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. III, p. 81-85
- They pursued the enemy to the gates and set everything on fire. They burnt down all those gardens and groves. That paradise of idol-worshippers became like hell. The fire-worshippers of Bud were in alarm and flocked round their idols…
- Amir Khusrow in Nuh Siphir. About Sultan Mubarak Shah Khalji (AD 1316-1320) in Warrangal (Andhra Pradesh) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. III, p. 559
- Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed,—chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in the place of the old trees—tens of centuries old—that have been destroyed.
- John Muir in: Raymond Hyser, J. Arndt Voices of the American Past: Documents in U.S. History, Volume 2, Cengage Learning, 4 June 2007, p. 349.
- Canada, the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.
- Alanis Obomsawin, As quoted in "Conversations with North American Indians" by Ted Poole in Who is the Chairman of This Meeting? : A Collection of Essays (1972) edited by Ralph Osborne, p. 43. In the article "When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money" "Quote Investigator" states that Greenpeace placed a paraphrased approximation on a banner in 1981, which has been widely propagated as a "Cree prophesy" or "Cree saying" and alternately attributed directly to Obomsawin, as in "A Thought for the Day" at Wordsmith (8 October 2014):
- When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can’t eat money.
- The article of the Quote Investigator states similar expressions had also been used by others around 1972, and the earliest incident found of somewhat similar expressions of the importance of conserving natural resources occurred in the "Biennial Report of the State Fish and Game Commissioner to the Governor of North Dakota from March 17, 1893 to December 1, 1894":
- Present needs and present gains was the rule of action — which seems to be a sort of transmitted quality which we in our now enlightened time have not wholly outgrown, for even now a few men can be found who seem willing to destroy the last tree, the last fish and the last game bird and animal, and leave nothing for posterity, if thereby some money can be made.
- Whenever the Muharram… chances to coincide with Hindu festivals, such as the Ramnavmi or the birth of Rama, the Charakhpuja, or swing festival, or the Dasahra, serious riots have occurred as the processions meet in front of a mosque or Hindu temple, or when an attempt is made to cut the branches of some sacred fig-tree which impedes the passage of the cenotaphs....
- Jafar Sharif, Islam in India or the Qanun-i-Islam, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8
- The king seizes the Brahmanas, pollutes their caste and even takes their lives. If a conch-shell is heard to blow in any house, its owner is made to forfeit his wealth, caste and even life. The king plunders the houses of those who wear sacred threads on the shoulder and put scared marks on the forehead, and then binds them. He breaks the temples and uproots tulsi plants… The bathing in Ganga is prohibited and hundreds of scared asvattha and jack trees have been cut down.
- Jayananda: Chaitanya-mañgala, (a biography of the great Vaishnava saint), about the Navadvipa region on the eve of the saint’s birth in 1484 AD. Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India.
- Sikandar on entering the fort, fell down on his knees, and returned thanks to God, and celebrated his victory. The whole army was employed in plundering and the groves which spread shade for seven kos around Bayana were tom up from the roots'... the Sultan ordered the temples and idols to be demolished, and mosques to be constructed. After leaving Mian Makan and Mujahid Khan to protect the fort, he himself moved out on a plundering expedition into the surrounding country, where he butchered many people, took many prisoners, and devoted to utter destruction all the groves and habitations; and after gratifying and honouring himself by this exhibition of holy zeal he returned to his capital Bayana.
- Tarikh-i-Khan Jahan Lodi, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. V, p. 97-101 . Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964.
- He (Sikandar) offered up suitable thanksgivings for his success, and the royal troops spoiled and plundered in all directions, rooting up all the trees of the gardens which shaded Dhulpur to the distance of seven kos.
- Tarikh-i-Da‘udi in Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. Eliot and Dowson, Vol. IV, pp. 439-467
- The Emperor, within a short time, reached Udaipur and destroyed the gate of Dehbari, the palaces of Rana and the temples of Udaipur. Apart from it, the trees of his gardens were also destroyed.
- [About Aurangzeb's actions at Udaipur:] Futûhãt-i-Ãlamgîrî, translated into English by Tanseem Ahmad, Delhi, 1978. p. 130
- Now when you cut a forest, an ancient forest in particular, you are not just removing a lot of big trees and a few birds fluttering around in the canopy. You are drastically imperiling a vast array of species within a few square miles of you. The number of these species may go to tens of thousands. Many of them are still unknown to science, and science has not yet discovered the key role undoubtedly played in the maintenance of that ecosystem, as in the case of fungi, microorganisms, and many of the insects.
- Edward O. Wilson in: John Henry Morgan Naturally Good: A Behavioral Histoy of Moral Development from Charles Darwin to E. O. Wilson, Cloverdale Corporation, 2005, p. 252.