What’s a Memorial Tree Forest for Burials or Scattering Ashes?


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Everyone wants a calm, peaceful resting place for their loved ones. For those who choose to have their loved ones cremated, scattering the ashes or using a biodegradable urn is a great way to ensure their remains find a gentle way back to nature.

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This cycle is a beautiful symbol of death and rebirth, and it reminds us that we’re all closer to nature than we think. A memorial tree forest is one way to achieve this wish of an eco-friendly or natural resting place.

How exactly do memorial tree forests work for burials and scattering ashes? How do you learn more about this option to decide if it’s right for you, and how do you find memorial tree forests near you? In this guide, we’ll explain what this type of resting place is and how it works.

Tip: Another great way to honor a loved one is by creating an online memorial page. This creates a place where family and friends can write tributes and make a donation for funeral expenses. Cake's memorial page includes many features, such as a memorial wall, photo sharing, funeral resources, and more. It's free and easy to create an online memorial page with Cake.

Memorial Forests Explained

Most people are familiar with traditional burial or cremation options like using a cemetery or keeping the ashes in an urn. However, in recent years, it’s been increasingly popular to consider eco-friendly or green alternatives. From tree pod burials to green ceremonies, more people are looking to reduce their impact after death. 

A memorial forest is one way to do this that also offers a lasting, touching tribute to the deceased’s legacy. These forests are tranquil final resting places that use trees instead of headstones. 

There are many different types of memorial trees. Some choose to be buried under a tree instead of a headstone, while others have their ashes mixed with the roots of the tree to create a new life. In addition, it’s also possible for the ashes of a cremated loved one to be scattered through a memorial forest, offering a more flexible choice. 

Because the memorial forest continues to grow and thrive, this is a cherished place that symbolizes life and eternal peace. For the loved ones, this is a forest that’s easy to return to when you’re in need of comfort. 

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

Are Memorial Forests Protected?

With so many forests and gardens turning into private land or construction sites, how do you know these memorial forests will be around to last? While this is a legitimate fear at many different nature preserves, there’s nothing to worry about with your memorial forests. 

These forests are on protected land. Like regular cemeteries, they aren’t at risk of being removed or destroyed. The lands are privately owned in most cases, and they’re not at risk of removal. They’re designed to give family members full peace of mind. 

How Do You Get Buried or Plan a Burial in a Memorial Forest?

Because this is a newer option, most people don’t know where to begin when planning this type of burial or ceremony. Luckily, it’s easier than you think. It’s also growing in popularity and quickly spreading across the country to a number of destinations. Follow these steps to get started. 

Step 1: Plan your burial or cremation

The first step is to plan whether you’d like your loved one buried or cremated. This affects the rest of your decisions, so ensure you know what’s best for your family before you proceed with this process. 

The most flexible, inexpensive option is cremation. Not only is this one of the most popular choices today, but it means you’ll have more room to choose a memorial forest to fit your needs. 

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Step 2: Find a memorial forest

Next, you’ll need to find a memorial forest. These come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and the best way to find one is online. While conducting your search, review your local laws online to determine what types of burials and cremations are allowed. 

By knowing what is legal near you, you’ll have an easier time sourcing the right memorial forest or garden. A great place to start your search is at local cemeteries and green burial sites. 

Step 3: Choose your tree

Another important step is to choose your tree. There are so many types to choose from, so this is a great way to consider the type of legacy you’d like your loved one to have. Memorial forests or gardens typically offer several different trees or other plants to choose from. 

When making your choice, remember you want something that will last. This should be a strong, easy-care tree that won’t require any moving in the future as it grows. Look for native plants to determine which is best for your region. 

Step 4: Plan your ceremony

Next, plan your tree ceremony. There are so many options, from conducting a traditional ceremony to reading memorial tree planting poems. Most people have a planting service where the family gathers to lay the ashes to rest with the new tree. 

There is no right or wrong way to plan this ceremony. It can be as traditional or out-of-the-box as you’d like. If your loved one always wanted to become a tree when they die, what a great way to honor their memory. 

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

Step 5: Mark the spot

This step is optional, but many families choose to leave a memorial marker of some form with the tree. While it’s perfectly fine to let the tree speak for itself, many memorial forests also include some form of artistic or traditional market to honor your loved one’s memory. 

Adding a marker also makes it easy to return to this spot in the future. Once grown, many trees look alike in these memorial forests. A market ensures your loved one’s legacy lives on no matter what the future brings. 

You might also want to decorate the space around the tree. However, always check with the rules of the memorial forest or garden before bringing your own things. You don’t want to bring anything that isn’t eco-friendly or that will get in the way of the groundskeeping. 

Where Can You Find a Memorial Forest?

Because memorial forests are becoming more common across the country and the globe, they’re becoming easier to find in your local communities. You can find them by searching ‘memorial forest’ near you. You might need to look further than your local town, but they’re especially common around large metro areas. 

Other terms you might see associated with memorial forest are:

  • Memorial garden
  • Green burial grounds
  • Green cemetery 
  • Memorial park

By searching these terms, you should be able to find a memorial forest near you. A great resource for finding cemeteries and lands that are green certified is by browsing the standards and certified cemeteries from the Green Burial Council

Memorial Forest Alternatives

If you're looking for sustainable alternatives, a memorial forest isn't your only choice. While many appreciate the peacefulness and comfort brought by a memorial forest, you might also consider these alternatives:

  • Memorial diamond: A memorial diamond from Eterneva is a way to transform ashes into a gorgeous, wearable diamond in honor of a life lived beautifully. 
  • Scatter ashes: Aside from scattering or burying ashes in a memorial forest, you might choose another natural location like a beach or mountain range to scatter the ashes of a loved one. 
  • Traditional urn: A traditional urn made of natural materials is an eco-friendly choice. 
  • Custom urn: If you can't find a traditional urn that meets your needs, Foreverence will create a unique, one-of-a-kind urn in honor of someone's memory. 
  • Memorial art: Finally, you can also transform a loved one's ashes into memorial art, jewelry, or another memento.

Is a Memorial Forest Burial Right for You?

Memorial forest burials are one of the latest waves in sustainable, eco-friendly burials. Perfect for both burials and cremation, this is an alternative to the traditional graveyard. While traditional cemeteries are a peaceful place, it’s hard to beat the peace and tranquility of a natural forest. 

By burying your loved one or their ashes at a memorial forest, you ensure their remains rest peacefully with nature. This is not only an affordable choice, but it also offers a new way of considering someone’s legacy. 

As more people consider green alternatives to traditional burials and cremations, we’re likely to see more memorial forests popping up everywhere. Is this something you would consider yourself or for a loved one? Start by creating your own end-of-life plan today

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