The cathartic properties of trees

Cambridge Scholars are proud to announce the release of two fascinating multidisciplinary volumes which explore humanity’s intricate relationship with nature.

The first International Handbook of Forest Therapy defines the scientific domain of an innovative, evidence-based and timely public health approach. More than 50 authors from around the world are brought together to offer their expertise and insights about forest therapy from a variety of research perspectives. They are brought together by an editorial team comprised of forestry and public health experts – a team led by Editor-in-Chief Dieter Kotte, the current Secretary and International Adviser of the International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance (INFTA).

The volume centres on the multitude of effects related to the biophilia hypothesis, the theory that humans have an innate need to connect with nature and the natural world. These discussions are complemented by research results compiled across the last three decades in the fields of forest medicine and biochemistry from Asia. The latest developments with regards to forest therapy are brought to light from a number of different countries, from China and Australia to Germany and Austria.

The handbook constitutes a major milestone in research in this fledgling but fascinating field. It sets the baseline for forest therapy to be implemented worldwide as a powerful and financially prudent public health practice.

Ruth Wilson, in her new paperback edition of Trees and the Human Spirit, takes a slightly different approach but comes to similar conclusions about the curative properties of the woodland environment. Where forest therapy is largely based in scientific research, Ruth’s scholarship explores the relationship between trees and humanity from a philosophical and emotional perspective. The volume presents a treatise on trees and how they relate to the very core of our being. Through its in-depth discussion of the meaning of trees, a need for a shift in thinking becomes clear.

Historically, notes Wilson, people in dominant cultures have viewed trees as resources to be used and forests as obstacles to such endeavours as farming and ranching. This publication presents a different view of trees and forests, one calling for a shift from domination and irreverence to respect and care—even kinship.

While the text includes a discussion about some of the amazing characteristics of trees, the primary focus is on the philosophical meaning of, and emotional connections with, trees. Its integration of disciplines and the recognition of different ways of knowing will make it a book which will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

For more information about the texts, to read extracts from them, or to learn more about their authors, you can click on the below images.

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