You get 61 trees for life


Nalini M. Nadkarni (photo source Univ. of Washington article)

In her 2008 book, Between Earth and Sky; Our Intimate Connections to Trees, Nalini M. Nadkarni wrote on page 43,
I calculated that the world supports sixty-one trees for each person on Earth [in 2005]. … When I told my husband […] he reflected for a moment and then voiced wonder that the ratio was so small.  “Each person gets sixty-one trees in a lifetime?  That seems hardly enough to supply just the firewood we’ll use in our woodstove for the next few winter seasons, let alone the lumber that’s in our house and the paper I put through my printer.”  His reflections […] reinforced the sense that I need to think about ways to look after my sixty-one trees, wherever they might be growing in the world.
To see how she arrived at 61 trees for each of us, see the two scanned images of her text below.

Click to open Nadkarni’s text in these JPG image files, and see the abstract about her below them, then take a look at her 5-minute video about how she found out that trees are extremely mobile artists, and got inspired by them to help change our prisons.

Nadkarni Trees p 42    

Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees. World-renowned canopy biologist Nalini Nadkarni has climbed trees on four continents with scientists, students, artists, clergymen, musicians, activists, loggers, legislators, and Inuits, gathering diverse perspectives. In Between Earth and Sky, a rich tapestry of personal stories, information, art, and photography, she becomes our captivating guide to the leafy wilderness above our heads. Through her luminous narrative, we embark on a multifaceted exploration of trees that illuminates the profound connections we have with them, the dazzling array of goods and services they provide, and the powerful lessons they hold for us. Nadkarni describes trees’ intricate root systems, their highly evolved and still not completely understood canopies, their role in commerce and medicine, their existence in city centers and in extreme habitats of mountaintops and deserts, and their important place in folklore and the arts. She explains tree fundamentals and considers the symbolic role they have assumed in culture and religion. In a book that reawakens our sense of wonder at the fascinating world of trees, we ultimately find entry to the entire natural world and rediscover our own place in it.  — from abstract at

Link to video:

Shortlink for this post:

5 thoughts on “You get 61 trees for life

  1. Sixty one! I have that many trees on my land in the desert. Likely many more. But they are primarily scrubby mesquite. Not enough for fuel for the years I have left. And I have many fewer years left than I have already had.
    If I partnered up and my partner had sixty-one, maybe. But I do not head with wood, so in that sense it’s a non-issue. But of course it’s a HUGE issue. We should probably have closer to 6-800 trees each.
    We certainly need fewer people on this beautiful planet. I did my part for this by having no children. My sis did her part by adopting all her children. I wish others were doing the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. I don’t know the right maximum population that would be okay, but I think by the latest I heard, we currently use more than 150% of the resources earth can supply to the current population. In other words, we’re “running it into the ground.” Yet the population keeps increasing. Talk about Soylent Green! It’s no wonder we find mono-culture-big-ag factory made derivatives of plants like corn, wheat and soy in so many products. Inevitably we’ll mass produce synthesized food, already on the way. Add Frank’s Hot Sauce and it won’t be too bad. I don’t want to live a lot longer. I didn’t biologically father kids, either (that I know of). Mine came pre-equipped with other parents. My immediate family of 5 kids (incl. me) wrought only 6 kids. Counting both parents, that’s almost 2-for-1. I guess we’re leaving the planet better than we found it in that regard. Then of course there’s this blog. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is interesting and sad to think about, only 61 trees per person. There are probably more than 61 around me and I understand that I have been fortunate. However, everything changes, and on land adjacent, for the past several months trees have been taken down for industrial purposes. It breaks my heart. About a week ago I read something you had posted a link to, about a long walk in a forest, with lots of pictures. I really enjoyed it and I hope you will post it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to hear from you.

      They have harvested thousands of trees from the 50-acre lot next to me, and are still working on it. So greedy that the abundance they are harvesting hasn’t been enough to stop them from taking dozens of trees in violation of at least one state regulation.

      I think the post you’re talking about was “Angel Wing in the Stream.” I am re-working it to be a little less tedious and laborious read, a little shorter, and faster loading pictures / smaller downloadable PDF file. It will have almost all the same pictures.

      It is a special pleasure to hear you liked it enough to ask to get it back! The new version should be more enjoyable. I know it’s not for everybody. I didn’t expect anyone to like it much. It was a process, not a product. Still is.

      Liked by 1 person

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