Responses to Tree Forms (06-07-19)

Townsend and Barton link our current responses to various sorts of trees to our experiences as a young species.  Their review of existing research indicates “that humans across the globe find broad spreading tree form beautiful. This form recalls the trees of the ancient African savanna where our species evolved.”  The researchers also report that their work leads to predictions that “humans prefer sleeping on the second story, elevated off the ground, because we associate elevation off the ground with safety. . . . [and] that humans prefer enmeshed multiple tree canopy as opposed to stand alone trees because connected canopy allows movement within the canopy from one tree to the next. . . . [and] humans prefer horizontal branching rather than ascending or descending patterns because horizontal branching makes climbing easier.”

Joseph Townsend and Susan Barton.  2018. “The Impact of Ancient Tree form on Modern Landscape Preferences.”  Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol. 34, pp. 205-216,