This article develops the notion of the “embodied history of trees” and articulates its conceptual and ethical implications. It demonstrates how trees literally embody their environment in their very structure and argues that trees express their environments in the deepest, most responsive, and most immediate way. The article then moves to consider how trees fundamentally shape their environment, showing that just as trees are expressions of their contexts, so their contexts are expressions of the trees. By highlighting the deep reciprocity between trees and their environments, the article raises crucial questions about the usual modes of conceptualizing the relation between organism and environment, and points to the ways in which environmental ethics remains largely wedded to these problematic conceptualizations. It concludes by developing environmental ethical concepts in light of the embodied history of trees, noting how these concepts challenge assumptions within mainstream environmental ethics, while extending the insights of deep ecology, ecofeminism, and Indigenous relational ethics in illuminating ways.

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