Conclusion – Towards a Symbiotic Relationship
The diversity of the relationship of people to forests can be illustrated in various ways. This diversity can be seen on the level of experience and perception of forest landscapes, the sense of place and belonging, with respect to the use and legal regulation of forest resources and in the role of forests in the understanding of ourselves. Forests affect us through their mere presence, their materiality and physical properties, but we are also connected through emotional, spiritual and visceral bonds to forests and trees. Changes in attitudes and conditions for people’s relationship to forests occur through time; and contradictions can be found in different values that are represented by forests. The life of people and the presence of forests in landscapes are characterised by a mutual dependency, and the development of one is followed by the change and adaptation of the other. If modern Europe is to build a new sustainable culture utilising its forest resources then forests would need to be both highly productive and capable of supplying all other forest functions expected by society.