ENTS Aesthetics Project

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
- Albert Einstein
What is it about a particular tree, grove, or forest that tells you that this is a special place? What is it that touches you in some way on an emotional, spiritual, or aesthetic level? Is it different for individual trees as opposed to a section of a forest? If so what are the differences? This project is something in which I ask ENTS people to participate. I want to see a collaborative effort, than one derived directly from my ideas.

At the ENTS Rendezvous in October, I presented a PowerPoint presentation on ENTS. One slide dealt with what I called the Aesthetics of the Forest. I had a bulleted list of 1)Music, Poetry, and Prose, 2) Celebration of Trees, 3) Spiritual, 4) Emotional, 5) Philosophical, 6) Artistic. I would like to see ENTS explore some of these concepts to a greater degree in the future.

Edward Frank 


Forest Aesthetics

On March 14, 2010 The Eastern Native Tree Society and Western Native Tree Society switched from discussion lists on Google Groups to a new discussion list in a Bulletin Board format at: http://www.ents-bbs.org/index.php  Posts made since the inception of the BBS on march 14, 2010 will be sorted and archived on the BBS. Click on the link above to go to the equivalent section on the new BBS. This website will continue to serve as a front end for the ENTS and WNTS groups. It will continue to serve as a repository of older posts, and will serve as the host site for special projects and features that are not well suited for a BBS format. Please visit the BBs for the latest information and trip reports.


  • Gaining inspiration and direction from Gaines Gaines, I believe I speak for all Ents when I say we would thoroughly enjoy your woods. We most assuredly enjoy your descriptions and admire your passion and devotion. You expressed it best when you explained that for you, your woods are a 9, but for most Ents, they probably would be a 7, at least based on initial impressions. The two-point difference lies in the love, devotion, and intimate knowledge you have for your woods. The care with which you practice forestry and seek results consistent with your ideals calls forth another issue for me - the state of public forestry in Massachusetts.... more »  Mar 8, 2010.
  • Forest sounds The sounds in a forest are a big part of the woods aesthetic experience. This is a video/sound recording I made over the weekend. I was wrapping up after climbing in a large white pine, one of three in a mini-grove on the edge of a red maple swamp. I've described some of these trees in a recent posts. While this area has been highly disturbed since colonial... more »  Mar 8, 2010.
  • Fwd: 4 more pics of my timberland ENTS: I tried to link up my last e-mail with pics to the first by copying the subject line--well, Google seperated them anyway, so I will abandon that effort. Anyway, here are four more pics. Two of the main road into my timberland--again it follows the old tram road route, but it has been significantly "upgraded" (depending on one's point of view!... more »  Mar 1, 2010.
  • 4 pics of my timberland--beaver ponds/meadows, fall ENTS: Since I have posted a little "essay" on forest aesthetics and talked about my own timberland as an example, a few more pics might help clarify what I am talking about. I will send 4 more after this batch. The one looking up a double-trunked black cherry is not one of my better trees. there are much larger nice ones, including... more »  Mar 1, 2010.
  • An informal "essay" on forest aesthetics--a different perspective? ENTS: Some thoughts about forest aesthetics and how to develop objective criteria and develop a ranking: Yes, as I said in my initial, and overly broad comment on aesthetics last weekend, this kind of thing can be “troublesomly” subjective. But I agree there is some value, both in directing... more » Mar 1, 2010.
  • Cliff notes on aesthetics discussion? ENTS, I like the aesthetics discussion a lot, but can't grasp it all - (except the posts about 'suckiness'!). At some point, I hope you can put together a Cliff Notes version for plebeians like me! BTW, Sunrise Earth on HD Theater is featuring Sequoia National Forest. It's on until 11. Very beautiful. (I always put on Sunrise Earth for... more »  Mar 1, 2010.
  • Valuing Forests Valuing Forests By Edward Frank, March 1, 2010 How do we value forests? As a society we place a variety of different values of forests depending on our own personal perspectives. Probably the first value many think of when considering forests is their value as timber. Beyond this forests have value as a recreational resource, as spiritual touchstones, and biological reserves, and as parts of larger ecologic systems among others. I am proposing an organizational framework encompassing many of these values so that they can be better understood and evaluated.... more » March 1, 2010.
  • Aesthetics---understated beauty---shibui  ENTS- For me, this photo of shed white pine needles, floating with a ribbon-grass leaf, has intrinsic aesthetic value. Steve Feb 28, 2010.
  • Back to James on aesthetics James, There are archetypal landscapes to which we humans respond to favorably. Formal gardens is an example. The clean look, the geometric patterning, the use of complementing and contrasting colors, etc. are appealing to the overwhelming majority. I imagine that among other things, formal gardens appeal to our sense of order. I'm sure Steve has a better way of describing the impact of design. With a little discussing, we could probably agree on the key elements that make formal gardens appealing. Ranking different gardens would be a far more complicated matter, akin to ranking an artistic performance in the Olympics as Ed has explained.... more »  Feb 27, 2010.
  • ENTS Aesthetics Bob, James, If you watch the Olympics, consider sports like ice dancing. There is a technical score by judges that rate the technique of the dancers based upon the difficulty of the steps and a guideline for deductions. There also is a a rating for artistry. That is much more subjective, but they have some guidelines for determining artistry and base scores upon that. They all come up with pretty much the same score (except maybe the North Korean judge) for these subjective evaluations of artistry. We should be able to develop a set of criteria for quantifying a forest aesthetic. I took one stab at it last summer and the thread is posted on the ENTS website.... more » Feb 26, 2010.
  • Forests and People http://groups.google.com/group/entstrees/browse_thread/thread/160d20dbdcad0148?hl=en April 5, 2009
  • ENTS Forest Aesthetics Project, Discussions Part 1 Nov-Dec 2006
  • ENTS Forest Aesthetics Project, Discussions Part 2 Jan 2007 -