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Personal encounters with trees: the lived significance of the private urban forest


Pearce, LM and Davison, A and Kirkpatrick, JB, Personal encounters with trees: the lived significance of the private urban forest, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 14, (1) pp. 1-7. ISSN 1618-8667 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier GmbH.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2014.11.003


Private trees are an important element in the social relations of urban landscapes, contributing intensely personal and highly textured experiences of memory, place and emotion. Drawing on emerging theoretical interest in human-plant relations, we report encounters with trees in gardens, and the effects of these encounters on decision-making, from semi-structured interviews in home gardens in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield, Australia. Trees were experienced as active participants in urban life in five main ways: as producers of wanted and unwanted products, as messengers of social information, as reference points to places and experiences, as significant others, and as members of the community. We show how, in the residential context, nuanced and highly individual experiences of trees are critical in shaping the private urban forest. The urban forest can be planned and managed in ways that acknowledge this lived experience of trees as active participants in the fabric of urban life.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:urban forest, urban nature, gardens, human-tree relations, subjectivity, experience, private trees, semi-structured interviews, tree agency
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Pearce, LM (Ms Lilian Pearce)
UTAS Author:Davison, A (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, JB (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
ID Code:97096
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP0987099)
Web of Science® Times Cited:39
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2014-12-03
Last Modified:2017-11-21

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