Trees and humans have different times
Trees and humans: we are becoming more and more diverse. Our society values speed and youth, from the entertainment industry to employment contracts, from the rhetoric of politics to supermarkets.
Today, for us, the concept of old age is as negative as slowness. We want to be faster and faster to move from one part of the world to another. We don’t want to waste time and what we perceive as “lost time” bothers us.
In the forest, however, times are much slower and old age is a quality that we struggle to safeguard. We can no longer allow forests to become old. Older forests, in technical jargon, are increasingly rare.
“The stability of an ecosystem is linked to biodiversity and bio-complexity.” says Alessandro Bottacci, one of the leading national experts on biodiversity and now director of the Casentino Forests National Park.
Human beings, over time, have formed communities, gradually building cities, then states and even multinational organizations. Communities are opportunities within which bonds are created like those created in the forest. Complex links between actors and seemingly distant things. From bee to wolf, from humus to rain.
But these bonds are invisible to our haste, they are invisible to the time of today’s human being. A human being who no longer stops to dance and tell stories around the fire. A human being who no longer walks in the woods to gather in prayer.
Today we are in a hurry and we are driven by the idea of performances, the economic ones and not the artistic ones. In a short time we want to achieve great results, both in the gym and in the woods.
Yet, we are much more than the time we are given in a life. In fact, we are the link in a chain of generations and, if we cannot ignore the history of our ancestors, we cannot ignore the history of our heirs. This time is now a resource to be safeguarded.
We must return to taking care of this value.
Also for the forest, because we want to use the forests without giving them time to give the abundance of materials that have always provided us. Today we consider the abandonment of forests, for example, a problem, but forests would do their job undisturbed and would be able to find the point of resilience.
The less man disturbs the forests, the more quickly they reach their capacity to resist and organise themselves to change. With the use of time and space, forests can become complex and resilient. On small areas, they cannot evolve, let alone in a short time.
To do this they need a new relationship with the human being, who must become less anthropocentric to be able to return to having a dialogue with their environment.