1st Edition

The Cultural Value of Trees Folk Value and Biocultural Conservation

Edited By Jeffrey Wall Copyright 2022
    272 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume focuses on the tree, as a cultural and biological form, and examines the concept of folk value and its implications for biocultural conservation.

    Folk value refers to the value of the more-than-human living world to cultural cohesion and survival, as opposed to individual well-being. This field of value, comprising cosmological, aesthetic, eco-erotic, sentimental, mnemonic value and much more, serves as powerful motivation for the local performance of environmental care. The motivation to maintain and conserve ecology for the purpose of cultural survival will be the central focus of this book, as the conditions of the Anthropocene urgently require the identification, understanding and support of enduring, self-perpetuating biocultural associations. The geographical scope is broad with chapters discussing different tree species from the Americas and the Caribbean, East Asia, Eurasia and Australia and Africa. By focusing on the tree, one of the most reliably cross-culturally-valued and cross-culturally-recognized biological forms, and one which invariably defines expansive landscapes, this work illuminates how folk value binds the survival of more-than-human life forms with the survival of specific peoples in the era of biocultural loss, the Anthropocene. As such, this collection of cross-cultural cases of tree folk value represents a low hanging fruit for the larger project of exploring the power of cultural value of the more-than-human living world.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of conservation, biodiversity, biocultural studies and environmental anthropology.

    1. Introduction to Tree Folk Value: Meaning-full Trees, a Thriving Living World, Cultural Survival

    I. The Americas and the Caribbean

    2. Becoming tree, becoming memory: social-ecological fabrics in Pewen (Araucaria araucaria) landscapes of the southern Andes
    José Tomás Ibarra, Antonia Barreau and Robert Petitpas et al.

    3. White Pine: The Tree That Sparked Peace, Revolution, and Insurrection
    Patricia Shanley

    4. Pepperwood: Sustainably and Ethically Expanding Commercial Use of an Undervalued Tree and Cultural Keystone Species?
    Frederica Bowcutt

    5. Nyame’s Altar: A Cultural History of the ‘God tree’ in Jamaica
    John Rashford

    6. "Paddle with the Tide": Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Western Redcedar Coevolution
    Marie J. Zahn, Joe Martin and Eli Enns

    II. Eurasia and Australia

    7. Chestnut Time and Chestnut Place: Conserving Chestnut-Ness (Kestanelik) in Turkey
    Jeffrey Wall

    8. Hawthorn in Ireland: a rich heritage of folklore, fact and fantasy
    Peter Wyse Jackson

    9. The Carob as a Blessed or Accursed Tree
    Amots Dafni and Saleh 'Aql Khatib

    10. Plant pathogens in emotional landscapes: olive stakeholders and Xylella outbreak in Apulia, Southern Italy
    Fabio Gatti

    11. Local cultural values of Persian walnut in Iran
    Asaad Habibi, Mohsen Hamedpour-Darabi and Kourosh Vahdati

    III. East Asia

    12. How Nuaulu Sago Palms Feature in Debates Around the Measurement of Plant Use and Valuation
    Roy Ellen

    13. Revisiting the Folk Value of Kitayama Sugi under contemporary cultural changes
    Andrea Flores Urushima, Benoit Jacquet and Wil de Jong

    IV. Africa

    14. Djinn-etics of the Argan Tree: Navigating vegetal human Hybrid Kinship
    Romain Simenel, Yildiz Almeeruddy Thomas and Ahmed Aarab

    15. The Folk Value of Eucalyptus, Cedar, and Olive in Northwestern Ethiopia
    Morgan Ruelle and Zemede Asfaw


    Jeffrey Wall is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Ethnobiology and holds a PhD in Natural Resources from Cornell University, USA.