Arborists: The Modern Day Shaman?

Daniel Van StarrenbergShamans are healers. Believers say that a shaman can communicate with a person’s soul in order to identify and alleviate the issue that ails it — in turn restoring balance and wholeness to the individual.

I know what you’re thinking… “My arborist has the power to tap into the spiritual world?” Well, no… at least I can’t — but I won’t speak for my colleagues.

The piece that links shamans and arborists is “heals by restoring balance.” Trees need balance to thrive: balance of nutrients, of roots to canopy ratio, of biomechanics (interaction between growth and gravity), of soil moisture and pore space, and of size relative to surroundings.

An arborist’s role is critical in maintaining balance among these elements. Because trees are the lifeline of an ecosystem, caring for them carries an important and noble role in our society.

Studies have concluded:
– A hospital patient heals quicker when recovering in a room with a window view of trees compared to
a patient in a room with a tree-less view
– Police report lower crime rates in public areas with a higher density of trees
– Properties with a lot of canopy coverage are more appealing to prospective buyers

The Healing Power of Trees

Trees in urban and suburban settings are typically planted to provide beauty or shade, but the benefits go far beyond this. Many studies have concluded that there is a direct correlation between our well-being and our natural surroundings. We all know of the social, communal, environmental, and economic benefits trees provide (some will be discussed later in this newsletter); research has even identified several psychological benefits.

Woman Meditating

Further, canopy cover is directly related to the quality of life measure in an urban area — simply stated, the more trees the higher the quality rating. The average canopy cover for cities in our area is about 27 percent. American Forests, however, recommends that this number be closer to 40 percent. Arborists are vital to the effort to reduce this discrepancy. SavATree’s Consulting Group actively works with municipalities throughout our service areas to increase canopy coverage and to maintain the health of existing trees.

As an arborist, I may be biased about the importance of arboriculture to the welfare of people; but just imagine your property, your neighborhood or your town without trees. Trees are our oldest living asset and without them, quality of life is dramatically altered. Rest assured we will continue to spread our enthusiasm about — and provide loving care to — these natural wonders.