Over €250 million has been spent in The Netherlands in attempts to eradicate the American Black Cherry, a species introduced in 1740 as a decorative tree. Once considered potentially lucrative, the tree has been through a series of identity shifts framing it first as a saviour and then as a pariah in the management of native woodland. Its metamorphosis into a pest occurred in the 1960s, when the dominance of Black Cherry was seen as a hindrance to the natural regeneration and monoculture of native Scots pine in some areas. Contemporary forestry had created an environment ripe for colonisation.…
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Exhibition Debut

Photos by Igor Vermeer and Minji Choi

Found Images of Invasive Forest Species

Found Studies of Invasive Species

Herbarium Index of European Invasive Species

Field Research, Heeze, NL

Left Behind Photo Series

Due to labor-intensive eradication of the American Black Cherry, defined as an “invasive alien species”—cutting it down, pulling it out, or treating its stumps and leaves with glyphosate—it is easy to find distorted specimens of Black Cherry in Dutch forests. A series of photographs documents the tension created in the landscape between the Black Cherry’s vigorous vitality and the attempts at control by humans. Best, Oerle, Veldhoven, NL. © Studio Minji Choi, 2019.

Naturalised Junk Final Films

Naturalised Junk

Minji Choi

Over €250 million has been spent in The Netherlands in attempts to eradicate the American Black Cherry, a species introduced in 1740 as a decorative tree. Once considered potentially lucrative, the tree has been through a series of identity shifts framing it first as a saviour and then as a pariah in the management of native woodland. Its metamorphosis into a pest occurred in the 1960s, when the dominance of Black Cherry was seen as a hindrance to the natural regeneration and monoculture of native Scots pine in some areas. Contemporary forestry had created an environment ripe for colonisation. For the last 70 years, forest managers have chased it through woodlands trying to get rid of it.

The rhetoric used against the tree echoes that of political fascists, with an exotic species becoming a symbol of the rejection of the unknown and foreign. The campaign against the species has even affected the views of the scientific community and policymakers alike. Minji Choi explores the Black Cherry’s negative reputation, linking it to changes in industry, the romanticisation of nature and political and economic crises. Pieces of Black Cherry taken from the Oerle Forest in North Brabant are arranged around three digital screens with infographics, interviews and documentary footage that together offer an overview of the tree’s history and current position, explaining its evolution in status from natural ornament to forest junk.

Credits

Consultants: Bart Nyssen, Forest Ecologist, Bosgroep Zuid; Jan Rots, Region Manager De Kempen, Bosgroep Zuid; Jan Den Ouden, Professor, Forest Ecology and Forest Management, Wageningen University; Hanneke Jelles, Head of Education, Hortus Botanicus Leiden, University Leiden

Research Advisor: Maxime Benvenuto

Infographic Design and Animation: Suk Go

Documentary Camera: Donghwan Kam

Supported by Stimuleringfonds/Creative Industries NL

References

“Amerikaanse vogelkers (American Black Cherry),” Floron Verspreidingsatlas Vaatplanten, 2020. Link

Anke Brouns, “Prunusje pesten,” Natuurmonumenten, January 14, 2019. Link

Bart Nyssen, Jan den Ouden and Kris Verheyen, Amerikaanse vogelkers: Van bospest tot bosboom (Zeist: KNNV Uitgeverij, 2013).

European Commission, “Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1263 of 12 July 2017 updating the list of invasive alien species of Union concern,” Brussels, July 12, 2017.

European Commission, Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2017). Link

European Parliament, “Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species,” Strasbourg, October 22, 2014.

Introduced tree species in European forests: opportunities and challenges, eds. Frank Krumm and Lucie Vítková (Joensuu: European Forest Institute, 2016).

Phillip Cassey et al., “Concerning invasive species: Reply to Brown and Sax,” Austral Ecology 30, no. 4 (June 2005): 475–480.

Robert I. Colautti and Hugh J. MacIsaac, “A neutral terminology to define ‘invasive’ species,” Diversity and Distributions 10, no. 2 (March 2004): 135–141.

“Vliegende kiep gezocht voor aanpak Amerikaanse vogelkers,” Natuurmonumenten. Link

Bio

Minji Choi is a Korean artist, designer, and researcher, currently based in the Netherlands. She graduated cum laude in 2018 from MA Contextual Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Her interest explores interconnections between nature, ethics and aesthetic culture by shifting the anthropocentric perspective to the plant’s point of view. The whole project is envisioned through the concept of plant rights, which defines the working approach within a variety of contexts. Thus, she aims to analyse existing cultures from a new perspective and to find ways to reestablish relationships between humans and plants. The consideration of scientific approaches through case studies is an essential asset for her projects in order to reflect culture through nature. She believes this interdisciplinary methodology lies in the possibility to be implemented into garden and landscape design that can shape our vision and understanding of nature again.

Contacts

minji-choi.com Link

@minji_choi___ Link