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Encyclopedia > Treesitting

Tree sitting is a form of environmentalist civil disobedience in which a protester sits in a tree, usually on a small platform built for the purpose, to protect it from being cut down (speculating that loggers will not endanger human lives by cutting an occupied tree). Supporters usually provide the tree sitters with food and other necessary supplies.

Tree sitters have successfully prevented logging of ancient old growth forests for months at a time, and in some instances have convinced logging companies not to cut trees in some areas. Sometimes, tree sitting is used as a long-term resistance strategy, with activists occupying trees for months or years at a time. On the other hand, tree sitting is often used as a stalling tactic, to prevent the cutting of trees while lawyers fight in the courts to secure the long-term victories.

When tree sitting occurs on private land, it is trespassing. Sometimes logging companies will hire tree climbers to remove trespassers sitting in trees. Although it is the companies' legal right to do so, the tree climbers occasionally cause harm to the sitters that resist efforts to end their trespassing, and in at least one case it has resulted in death. Most tree sitting in California occurs on private land. In Oregon, where there are more logging projects on public land (National Forests and BLM lands), treesitting is usually not trespassing but treesitters can be fined for violating closure orders or camping limits, or for erecting illegal structures.

Julia Butterfly Hill, an activist in Humboldt County, California, is perhaps the most famous tree-sitter. She became known for her 738 day sit (from December 10, 1997 until December 18, 1999) in a 180-foot, 600-year-old Coast Redwood tree, which she named Luna. Eventually, Hill and other activists raised money and paid Pacific Lumber $50,000 to spare her tree and a 200-foot buffer around it, something which some activists considered an unacceptable compromise.

Activists from Greenpeace and the Australian environmental organisation The Wilderness Society hold the record for the world's highest tree-sit, in the Styx Valley, Tasmania.

In 2002, two US environmental activists involved in tree-sitting protests died in separate accidents. [1] (http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=18908) [2] (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2002/October/11/local/stories/01local.htm)

Some elected officials, lumber companies, and advocates of property rights claim tree sitting is a form of eco-terrorism or ecotage.

Compare with: tree spiking

External links

  • Treesit Blog (http://www.contrast.org/treesit/)
  • Styx Valley: Global Rescue Station (http://weblog.greenpeace.org/tasmania/)
  • Climbing Proud! (http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/efj/feature.cfm?ID=41&issue=v20n5)

  Results from FactBites:
Phoenix is screaming (2732 words)
The first treesit in defense of forests in the Western United States occurred in 1985, when Oregon’s Cathedral Forest was being cut by Williamette Industries.
Treesits continue to take place across the country, as hundreds of mainly young people take to the trees to try to protect the places they love.
For example, in one group of treesits in 1999, the ground support crews were made up primarily of loggers and their families from the small town of Randall, Washington, who were opposing the cutting of the forest on Watch Mountain above their community by a distant corporation, Plum Creek Timber Company.
  More results at FactBites »



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