Strathclyde researchers publish new analysis of value of city tree-scape


Researchers at Strathclyde Business School have published new analysis around how trees are valued by Glasgow’s citizens. Gathering tree stories from all sorts of people and places, the report highlights how vitally the city’s treescape matters to us all.

The Every Tree Tells a Story (ETTAS) collaboration started in the spring of 2021 and continues to grow. Project partners include academics, local authority professionals, and creative practitioners. Through four seasons, from the autumn of 2022 until the end of summer 2023, ETTAS’ University of Strathclyde researchers created an innovative citizen social science experiment.

Dr James Bonner, Dr Juliette Wilson, and Professor Sarah Dodd used simple postcards to interact with Glaswegians of very diverse ages, origins, roles, and locations, inviting them to share their stories about trees; if, why, and how trees matter to them. Throughout, their main approach used specially designed – and eco-printed - postcards to simply ask “Every tree tells a story: what’s yours?”

The new report now tells the wider story of what it is about trees that is so valued and valuable to people, across the city of Glasgow, using the words and images from the city-wide engagement.

Four main key themes emerged from the study:

Making Home and Habitat: Trees are valued for their life-giving provision of oxygen, habitat for other species, and as a focal anchor point for human households and families. They provide a model of other ways of being, beyond the economic, drawing on older understandings of the home as embedded in natural place.

Trees as Family and Friends: Special trees and woodlands act as focal points for families and friends to deepen and strengthen relationships, across generations and locations. As the destination for ritual family walks, and the playgrounds of childhood, specific trees weave their way into family life, becoming focal points for bonding and being together.

Learning and Knowledge: The treescape provides a relational space, structure, shelter and spirit for free play, exploration, natural home-coming, and learning to live well with place, planet, and people.

Joy and Beauty: The treescape is revered as a place of special beauty and resonance, offering profound spiritual, emotional and aesthetic bounty.

The report details these findings, shares some of the postcards and their stories, and draws clear policy recommendations directed at municipal authorities planning their forestry strategies and practices.

Anyone interested in this research can get in touch by emailing ETTAS is on Instagram @everytreetellsastory, and can also be found online at

Published: 31 October 2023

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