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Protecting beauty and ritual: the ins and outs of forest and tree protection

It’s a gift to be able to write your own legacy. A big part of what makes that gift so beautiful is the memories you leave for those you love to help comfort them. At Better Place Forests, we understand the significance of providing a beautiful place to visit a loved one and the comfort that brings. That’s why we want to protect this place for generations.

We’re inspired by our customers to keep protecting forestland in service to them — to help protect the legacy of their loved ones. One customer, Rebecca, shares this: 

“In the worst time of my life, losing my son, your staff has been so kind and empathetic. My first steward was amazing, he allowed me to share about my son as we walked. He wasn’t afraid of my grief, in fact he cried with me. He gave me all the time I needed, to be with the tree I chose, to look over the paperwork, to decide what I wanted to do. The forest itself is so beautiful and peaceful. I love that people who loved my son can go to such a breathtaking place to remember him. Thank you for giving us such a gift.” 

Stories like Rebecca's are at the heart of our mission. Hand in hand with the importance of protecting our natural spaces, we protect and maintain the forest so that Rebecca's son will live on in a beautiful place where family and friends can gather for hundreds of years to come. When you choose one of our memorial forests, we promise to protect your legacy and the forest it lives in.

Our team works diligently to conserve forestland, maintain healthy forests, and protect your memorial tree. We begin our memorial forest conservation projects by looking for land with high conservation value and community support. Once we’ve obtained that land, we begin a lifetime of stewardship and conservation efforts. Protecting your legacy is our top priority and something we take very seriously. We’ve explained our process below to help you understand how we obtain, maintain, and foster our memorial forests. 


Forest conservation

Our memorial forests are a green alternative to traditional cemeteries, where we offer beautiful memorial trees instead of tombstones, burial vaults, and caskets. By creating conservation memorial forests, we conserve iconic forestland –– and its unique biodiversity. We protect land that would otherwise be used for other purposes, like development. 

We begin the conservation process by searching for forestland with high conservation value, is accessible, and has widespread community support. We look to protect habitat and species diversity, tree health, and rare ecosystems. Our forests are located near major cities and metropolitan areas to ensure accessibility — yet distant enough to ensure privacy and peace, away from bustling cars or freeways. Finally, we work with local stakeholders, partners, and neighbors to make sure the forest benefits the community as a whole. 

Once we've found a viable conservation area, we will work with local land trusts and conservation organizations to permanently protect the forest so even if we're ever gone, your legacy won't be.


Managing the forest

Our team of arborists and forest experts — who we hire from within the local community — help us adopt local forest management plans to maintain the health of the forest. When we enter a new forest, our arborists survey the grounds for signs of disease, fire risk, or invasive species. These issues can threaten the health of the area and the animals living in the forest. We’re careful to leave any animal shelters and bird nests undisturbed. The conservation of biodiversity is integral to the health of the forest and the local community. After surveying the land, our team begins to identify memorial sections. 

Each of our memorial trees is as unique as the person it will honor. When selecting memorial trees we look for trees in varying shapes, sizes, and species. We inspect for disease and observe their growth patterns — only picking the healthiest trees to honor your memory. Once we've chosen the memorial trees, under the guidance of a certified arborist, the forest team thins the forest to remove any trees that will impinge on the health of the overall forest. This process lowers the risk of fire and forest overcrowding. Think of it like a haircut. To allow the rest of the forest to flourish, we have to trim a few inches off the end. Our holistic forestry practices ensure that your tree will be around for lifetimes — not just your own.  


Memorial tree protection

Our forest experts are on-site to conduct memorial ceremonies, manage the grounds, and welcome your family to the forest. To ensure the health of the forest, our forest stewards look for things that may become a problem — like tree fungus or disease. These issues can spread throughout the forest, hurting memorial trees and the health of the forest. Stewards regularly prune tree branches to mitigate the risk of fire and allow loved ones to gather around the base of your tree. 

To lower the risk of fire, the forest team clears the forest floor to remove debris, dead vegetation, and reduce fuel load. Historically, in many of our forests, small fires would naturally run along the forest floor to revitalize the health of the forest — increasing nutrients and moisture available to healthy trees. Today these fires are often suppressed to prevent homes and towns from burning down. When we don't reduce forest density, catastrophic fire is a greater risk. Our forest stewards mimic these natural fire regimes to reduce forest density and allow the forest to flourish.

We take great care ensuring that your final resting place is accessible, healthy, and protected. When your loved ones come to remember you and what your life meant to them, it will be in a beautiful forest where your legacy lives on. Book a forest tour to begin tying your legacy to the life of the forest. 

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