Białowieża Forest

For a thesis I posed the question, what is nature? Since man tries to control nature in a large scale, we may not even know what real nature is anymore.
To try to find an answer to this question I started my research into managed and unmanaged nature. 

To deepen my understanding of what unmanaged and managed nature actually is, I first talked to a forester, Mari de Bijl manages about 2800 hectares for Brabants Landschap.

In 2018, I conducted research into managed and unmanaged nature.

In managing nature, nature is usually manipulated, nature is forced to behave according to a 'system' prescribed by man. This is because thousands of years ago, man wanted to control nature to his own advantage, first for agriculture and eventually that turned into a more aesthetic desire and wanting to have power over it. Because humans have continued to make adjustments and nature has not been given a 'rest' to put itself right again, it has been damaged to such an extent that we now have to do everything we can to protect the piece that remains.
Yet it could be that if we manage to let go of that compulsion, nature can offer an infinite amount.

There are many types of plants and trees, there is a lot to choose from in that sense, but in essence few interventions are viable. You can guide and direct trees in their growth, you can make them take on forms that do not occur in 'free' nature or only occur due to the coincidence of unusual circumstances. You can play with laws, but you can't really bend living nature to your will. Nature non facit saltus, Aristotle said. Nature does not make leaps, nature does nothing artificially.

I finally experienced this myself in the primeval forest of Białowieża in Poland, which I visited. This primeval forest is about 8000 years old and is now a large nature reserve that is protected. Here nature still takes its own course and nothing is artificially managed by man.
Here you see very clearly that nature is actually one big organism, which consists of different communities. Plants, trees, fungi, lichens, etc. help each other to stay strong and survive. As a result, there are trees that can live up to 900 years and reach a height of 55 meters.
The entire primeval forest is a kind of growth and decay process that can continue to be circular over hundreds of years.

My visit to the Białowieża Primeval Forest made me realize that my work doesn't just have to be created in nature, and that it doesn't just have to be presented in nature. But that I can also bring it to my own “world”, so that I can leave nature more to itself.

Cosmic phenomena, that all-encompassing interplay between chaos and order, of chance and determinism.”