Publication Details

This book chapter was originally published as Head, L and Muir, P, Living with trees – Perspectives from the suburbs, in Calver, M, Bigler-Cole, H, Bolton, G, Dargavel, Gaynor, A, Horwitz, P, Mills, J and Wardell-Johnson, G(eds), Proceedings of the 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society, Millpress, Rotterdam, 2005, 84-95.


A study of suburban backyards and backyarders in Sydney and Wollongong revealed evidence of attitudes and behaviours in relation to trees. Attitudes are characterised under themes that indicate conditions of tolerance and belonging. They include attachment/risk, order/freedom and nativeness/alienness. While love is common, high levels of suspicion and intolerance towards trees in the suburban context are more common. Our findings confirm and throw further light on previous work indicating that many Australians have very partitioned views of the world in relationto where humans and nonhuman lifeforms belong. This partitioning must be understood in conceptual as well as spatial terms.