Pilot Project

TreeStories 2019

2# TreeStories Feb. 19th 2019. Text, Kenneth Thomassen

Whats in the forest — between the trees — in the Norwegian folk-soul? 

The management of trees in the forest, pasture, cities and parks are constantly evolving. What stories, values, and knowledge form the basis of the choices we make?

On 25.s of May 2019, the crew and the sailboat Apus Apus set sails from Moss, in the south-east of Norway. We will sail along the Norwegian coastline for seven months, search for unique trees, forests, people and stories. Ca time at sea: from 1st May 2019 – 1. Jan 2020, and you can join.

We want to make collaborations with biologists, sailors, arborists, photographers, environmentalists, marine biologists, journalists, forest ecologists… or just people who want to reconnect and explore all the beautiful living creatures around us. If you want to learn more about trees, and forest-ecology, climbing, how to sail, navigate, freedive you’re welcome on board. 


It’s been 20 years since the last time I was on a long distance sailing trip. At that time three good friends and I sailed in a 28-foot Swedish built, Shipman. We started in Oslo, Norway, and met a strong gale in the sea of Skagerak, over to Denmark. Down the Kattegat, with Sweden to the east and Denmark to the west. Through the Kiel Canal, through Holland and the English Channel, Spain, and Portugal. From the Canary Islands, it took us 8th days to Senegal, West Africa and the beautiful crossing of the Atlantic over to Brazil took us 21 days. Between Recife in Brazil and, Bocas del Torro in Panama, there are thousands of beautiful islands. What an amazing journey that was back in 2001-2003.

The coast of Norway is waiting.

Why have I chosen to sail the Norwegian coast and seek knowledge, stories about trees, forests, and people? This I have asked myself many times. Since my last trip in 2003, I have been working with trees and plants, and I have taken education in gardening and arboriculture (the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, and vines). I have worked in large and small projects alone and in collaboration with other arborists. But also landscape architects, gardeners, architects, students, scientists, artists, woodcutters, loggers, and ordinary people who think it is fascinating with trees. We have climbed, dug, discussed and pondered.


The project, TreeStories, emerged from a desire to put, the job and the passion for the trees, into perspective. Get some peace and time to learn with others, read and search; what is in the forest — between the trees — in the folk-soul?

” Because we often work with trees and forests where thousands of species live together in an ecosystem.”

In my job as an arborist, it has gone from being a lot of practical mastery to be a combination of this and theoretical assistance to, Municipalities, architects, researchers, companies and private. I write reports on how people have to relate to trees according to Norwegian law, but also how they should relate to the forest and the trees. There is room for discussion even in the driest report. Why? Because we often work with trees and forests where thousands of species live together in an ecosystem.

Trees are considered sacred in many cultures. Tree worship, in one form or another, has been practiced, almost universally, by ancient peoples in every corner of the globe.

It is no wonder that trees have captured the human imagination since the beginning of time. Their strength, deeply rooted in the Earth, is an inspiration. Their trunk and branches are a wonder of nature because they stand sturdy and impenetrable most of the time, yet they can flex and sway with the wind when needed.

“They live for hundreds or even thousands of years, and so we revere them as keepers of past secrets and sentinels of the future.”

The whisper of a breeze in their leaves, or the sight of ants marching in a straight line up or down their trunks, remind us of the magic of nature that trees embody. They live for hundreds or even thousands of years, and so we revere them as keepers of past secrets and sentinels of the future.

The complex relations

On one of the protected oaks (Quercus robur) in, The Bathing-park in, Drøbak, the bracket mushroom; oak-mussel, lives in one of the old oaks. This mushroom has no protection. A few hundred meters south the butterfly; oak mussel mill, is registered. A small moth with a wingspan of 12 millimeters. This one is heavily threatened and it only places its eggs in, Oakmussel-bracket- mushrooms. This complex relationship between the oaks, the fungus, and the small butterfly can be researched in a lifetime, without understanding all the details of the cycle. This beautiful interaction in the ecosystem takes place in the woods, on the trees, and outside our house walls every day. This interaction even takes place in your stomach, on the skin, and in your hair right now! On the Christmas trees, we bring into our houses every year, there are several hundred insects. I am keen to ask the questions. I have had and have many customers who love the forest and their trees. And they tell me wonderful stories about what once happened in the forest or down below the tree

Soon the wind takes us on adventures to the north. With an open mind, we will gather knowledge and stories about trees and forests. About the ecosystem, the old loggers and their families. And the ties we human have to trees and why it’s so important to go for a walk in the woods.


The Norwegian forest will be a unique area for learning, experience, and participation by combining sustainable exploitation of nature and safeguarding historical heritage.

Main goal pilot project

With text, film, and photography, documenting stories of trees, forests, and people

Impact target main project 2020:

Summarize the material. Write a book and make
a movie that conveys the results.

The preliminary project will facilitate value creation by bringing together actors in a collaboration to seek, find and convey stories and knowledge along the coast of Norway. In 2019, the project collects data and convey stories and knowledge with shorter films and articles. To later summarize the material and make a movie and a book.

Performance goals pilot project 2019:

Gather data according to the main goal.

Search and disseminate knowledge, stories, and information about forests, trees and forest ecology.

Search and convey people’s connection (stories) to nature, trees, and forests.

Search and convey people’s passion for trees and forests.

Search and disseminate coastal culture.

Inspire people to use sailboat as a means of arrival.

Apus apus- master of sailing

High up there are the playful master flyers, Apus apus (Norwegian: Taarsnseiler. Eng, Common Swift). They are sailing on the wind over Africa, the sea of Skagerak, and the North Sea. The smell of earth and honey meets them on the way to the north. Down in the woods, the sap flows in the trees after a long winter and a good rest. The roots print water, nutrients, and sugar through the conduit tissue. The whole of Norway is awakened by the fact that hot water from the southern Atlantic is stretching along the coast through the Norwegian Sea. The swells shower among islets and reefs. The sea is powerful, it gives, takes, and links strong bonds between people and nature.

Some of the birds continue across the North Sea towards Norway. Over the Norwegian Sea, they snapping flying spiders that took off from a forest grove far down there. The ultimate sailors are very adaptable as opposed to many species heroes. Although they never land on the ground, they have adapted to human habitats and ways of life. Over the millennia, they have linked cultural ties to humans.

The Norwegian coast is formed by glaciers that have eroded the bedrock and formed innumerable valleys, fjords and the characteristic archipelago which is protected against the sea along most of the mainland’s coastline. There are only some shorter and longer stretches where the mainland is out towards the open sea: Lindesnes, Lista, Jæren, Stad, Hustadvika, Folda (Trøndelag) and along the Varanger peninsula.

“The trees and forest are home and food for over 20,000 irreplaceable species in Norwegian nature. And one of the most important habitats is old trees”

Since the Norwegian coast consists of many deep fjords and thousands of islands and coves, one has calculated that the Norwegian coast is over 25,000 kilometers long. Much of the wealth in Norway is related to the long coastline, for example, oil activities, sea transport, fishing, fish farming, and coastal forestry.

The trees in Norway have just exceeded 10,000,000,000 in number, and only 3% of the trees are over 160 years old. Together, the forest and trees form an important part of a large ecosystem. The trees and forest are home and food for over 20,000 irreplaceable species in Norwegian nature. And one of the most important habitats is old trees.

Protecting forests and trees is important to preserve this diversity. Today we have 4891 square kilometers of protected forest in Norway, which accounts for four percent of the total forest area. If you ask ecologists and biologists, this is too little in terms of safeguarding important biotopes in the Norwegian forest. 

There are many species that are threatened with extinction. And the biggest challenge is that most people have too much else to think about that nature, and the government is most concerned with smearing the big economic wheels for the Norwegian economy. Nearly three percent (2.9 percent) of productive forest in Norway is protected, while nearly seven percent (6.7 percent) of the unproductive forest is protected.

Impact target main project 2020:

Summarize the material. Write a book and make a moviethat conveys the results.