Ethics of Collecting: Backcountry Bonsai

Collecting has been a thing for years in North America. And like many places, we do have eye-candy in wild areas that supports our bonsai desires. Wherever you live, if you go out seeking trees, please educate yourself in how to do it. Or buy trees from those who do know.

Dan’s words about this subject are so good they deserve repetition. I’ve been wanting to write something about this topic for a long time, and yet it was done with such care and heart here on the Backcountry blog that I’d prefer just to share it:

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  1. jroskind1 says:

    Did I say something unethical?

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Dave Crust says:

    As a longtime collector, one that embraces a respectful traceless approach, I too have seen some sketchy practices and have been tempted with leaving dug trees behind or destroying cliff faces to get a tree. In this modern era of social media and websites, I have come to believe that the publication of film and photos and sometimes even stories, tend to glorify the practice and give a slanted view of what is a greatly difficult, highly expensive and often fruitless process and end up encouraging yahoos to go out and start mindlessly ripping and tearing. Collecting is a fascinating and alluring art that I think the pros should be discrete about.

  3. Brad says:

    For beginners, I suggest starting with small/younger trees that may not look like ready-made bonsai. It can teach you a lot about what conditions and species are better suited to collection without risking more impressive plants. I’ve been amazed by how nice some of these trees have turned out, and the others can always be given to a friend or planted in the yard.

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