Watching Stories

On more step into delusion


When I am looking for some wilderness, I naturally gravitate towards old, mossy, humid forest. Sometime it doesn’t require much. A small patch close to a road can have been spared from any human activity for some decades. It can be enough to let the feeling of wilderness emerge. The one in this watercolor, is yet a little paradoxal.

It is a forest of exotic trees, Sitka Spruce from the north-estern coast of North America, planted here for intensive wood production. Today, in this place near Stavanger, they are cut down as part of an ecological restoration plan. The goal is to have the natural birch forest back. Thus, this small beautiful wild patch is soon going to disappear. Am I sad about it? I cannot tell.

The plantation, in its time, has ruined a much richer local ecosystem. Now those trees are naturally dying and a new balance is on its way. A blance that the restoration is going to ruin too. But this time, it is to go back to a natural evolution, reparing mistakes that should not have been done in the first place.

So many such mistakes are still happening, especially on forests. How many persons still think that a forest wihtout human intervention will become an impenetrable jungle? This is such a short sighted vision. They are impenetrable because of the excessive perturbations we are inflicting them. In an old forest, you walk like in a garden, in the shadows of huge trees that prevent ground vegetation to grow.

In Norway like in the rest of Europe, old forests are very rare and disappearing fast. Each time one is cut down, we are making one more step into delusion. Thereafter, lack of action will lead to this impenetrable transitory state, giving the illusion of nature craving our action. Because who can wait two hundreds years?

But even after a few decades, beauty reappears. The forest on this image is not that old and we can already enjoy the beauty of its age. So if you are lucky enough to own a piece of land covered in forest, please, just let it be, at least a part of it, or even better, protect it, so we don’t end up living in an everlasting construction site.