Depart Enviromental Healing

Depart From Deforestation

Where trees grow, breath is bal­anced, abun­dant species live, and we can access healthy states. Embark on a more for­est-friend­ly existence.

“The Entire Plan­et Devoid of Water, Seen on Two Sides”, Thomas Bur­net, ca. 1700

“I can­not say exact­ly how nature exerts its calm­ing and orga­niz­ing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restora­tive and heal­ing pow­ers of nature and gar­dens, even for those who are deeply dis­abled neu­ro­log­i­cal­ly. In many cas­es, gar­dens and nature are more pow­er­ful than any med­ica­tion.” — Oliv­er Sacks32

71% of defor­esta­tion results from agri­cul­ture. Why are we cut­ting down pre­cious plants, scar­ring the lungs of our earth, to grow crops that can be grown and har­vest­ed with­in the canopies of diverse veg­e­ta­tion? The con­cept of agro­forestry com­bines agri­cul­ture and forestry by grow­ing trees and shrubs around crops. This method of land-use man­age­ment bal­ances the ben­e­fits of agri­cul­ture while still look­ing to not only pre­serve (and some­times even increase) bio­di­ver­si­ty, but to also reduce ero­sion. The land is health­i­er with a greater diver­si­ty of species grow­ing together.

Mul­ti­stra­ta Agro­forestry makes use of lay­ered trees and crops to max­i­mize space across hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal planes. This agri­cul­tur­al sys­tem mim­ics the nat­ur­al com­po­si­tion of forests. As described by Project Draw­down (a glob­al resource for cli­mate solu­tions), when agri­cul­tur­al prac­tices shift into agro­forestry, peo­ple have been able to “regen­er­ate sandy dirt into rich loam, cre­ate in-farm fer­til­i­ty with­out the use of com­post or manure, and great­ly increase water reten­tion.”33 This regen­er­a­tive capac­i­ty reaf­firms how work­ing with nature’s principles—in this instance, fol­low­ing the nat­ur­al anato­my of a forest—can serve to replen­ish land that has been mistreated.

“Urfor­men der Kun­st”, Karl Bloss­feldt, 1928

Forests are valu­able not only for their beau­ti­ful ver­dant aes­thet­ics, but for their irre­place­able con­tri­bu­tion to the health of human­i­ty. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the abil­i­ty of trees to give us such an abun­dance of oxy­gen. When we exhale and emit our co2, the trees take that gas in and, through the process of pho­to­syn­the­sis, push back out that gas, now in the form of breath­able oxy­gen. Yet, the ben­e­fits of refor­esta­tion and con­ser­va­tion go beyond car­bon cap­ture and greater pro­duc­tion of oxy­gen. For humans, green­ery pro­vides untold psy­cho­log­i­cal advan­tages as well. As neu­rol­o­gist Oliv­er Sacks acknowl­edged, the var­i­ous proven, and cel­e­brat­ed, ben­e­fits of being around greenery—of which forests are prime, ful­ly expressed examples—are still some­what sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly mys­te­ri­ous. Our best guess is that being around liv­ing sys­tems that demon­strate healthy reg­u­la­tion and long­stand­ing sta­bil­i­ty, actu­al­ly nour­ish­es aspects of our own bio­log­i­cal sys­tems to restore, reju­ve­nate, and renew them.

To secure a sus­tain­able future, we have to start car­ing for the world’s forests. By depart­ing from defor­esta­tion, and embark­ing on refor­esta­tion, we will lead our­selves onto a path of health­i­er ecol­o­gy as much as health­i­er psychology.

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