Democratic burial in the forest floor

Why do people want to be buried in the forest? In the summer of 2023, rheingold researched the motives in a qualitative and quantitative representative study on behalf of FriedWald.

The trend towards woodland burials stems from the fundamental desire to die in peace and to put "performance" requirements on the back burner, at least in death. While in conventional cemeteries the furnishings of the graves create status differences, a tree burial is democratic and also frees the relatives from the display of a well-kept grave.

The vastness and comforting atmosphere of the forest also plays a role, contrasting with the perceived narrowness and pure sadness of the cemetery.

Burials in the FriedWald resolve conflicts and contradictions

"Burial in the forest seems to achieve a balancing act and resolves perceived contradictions and conflicts," says Sebastian Buggert, psychologist and member of the rheingold management team, summarizing the essence of the study conducted by him and Sabine Loch. "In the forest, there is a peaceful atmosphere for final rest, but at the same time it is part of an active lifestyle and leisure activity. This makes it easier to approach this inherently difficult topic." The seemingly incompatible values of "individuality" and "equality" are also united in the forest. For while the way in which farewell and death are dealt with in the context of the funeral arrangements and the rituals of remembrance can be completely individual, the ban on grave decorations and discreet name plaques would emphasize the equality of people in death itself.

Less drama and more democracy

Death is perceived as less dramatic in the burial forest. The forest allows for a more casual encounter with finality - during a relaxed walk, for example. Surviving relatives can combine a visit to the grave with relaxing activities in the great outdoors, while at the same time there is no need to visit a cemetery.

For 90 percent of respondents, the burdensome maintenance of graves is an argument against the traditional cemetery. As nature alone takes over the decoration of the graves, hierarchies are also equalized. For the bereaved, there is no pressure to show the status and social integration of the deceased through headstones, grave decorations or grave care. In the forest, there is no need for comparison in death and the associated stress.

However, the sameness of the grave design does not mean that there is no individuality. In fact, 73 percent of those surveyed said this was an argument in favor of burial in a forest. They fully agreed with the statement "In a woodland burial, individuality and a different approach to the subject of death are respected". 92 percent of those surveyed see themselves as having a rather unconventional burial, unlike that known in a traditional cemetery.

Forest as a final resting place - a logical choice for nature-loving people

For many people, the thought of burial in the forest feels like "coming home". Choosing the forest as a final resting place is also an expression of one's own closeness to nature and a logical consequence for people who already feel connected to the forest.

For the vast majority of respondents, the forest has a special meaning. 89 percent even attribute a spiritual power to the forest. Burial in the forest marks the end of the increasingly noticeable outdoor trend: back to nature.

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