Mysterious Abode of the Nature Spirits

85Forests have deep-rooted symbolic meaning in virtually every culture on earth. They are viewed as the abode of the nature spirits, especially pixies, trolls and wood elves. Furthermore, they have paradoxical significance: they are both a refuge from danger as well as a source of dangerous wild animals including bears, wolves and mountain lions.

Each tree, in turn, has its own symbolic meaning. For example, oak trees are symbols of strength and endurance. Cedar trees represent healing, cleansing and protection. Apple trees are symbolic of magic, youth, beauty and happiness.

The types of trees determine the type of forest. They fall into the following major categories: tropical, sub-tropical, Mediterranean, temperate, coniferous and montane. The many types are also designated by their distance from the equator and their altitude.

Trees are generally harvested to create fuel and paper. Many individuals are making an effort to use electronic recording means for documents rather than paper to reduce the need for harvesting trees. About half of the wood around the world is used for heating homes and other buildings. Forests are so important to the economy around the world that they are usually managed by local or national governments to prevent illegal logging, accidental fires or other destructive activities.

Their ecosystems are composed of trees, plants, animals, soil, and various microorganisms and they cover about 30% of the earth’s surface. They grow in all types of landscapes including both salt and fresh water areas. In fact, some are located on moving glaciers.

They are mysterious and constantly changing. As a result, they can provide a lifetime of fascinating study and outdoor adventure.

Kathleen Karlsen is a mother of five children with a passionate interest in creating a world where children and youth are free to grow in imagination and joy. She has a lifelong interest in metaphysics, psychology, healing and the arts. She manages a multimedia business with her husband Andrew in Bozeman, Montana.