5 Curiously Shaped Forests

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Most forests aren't shaped like anything much. Natural blobs, usually. Squares, perhaps, if they were designed by architects or urban planners. But these forests are forests with a purpose.

1. A Heart

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In 1995, Janet Howes died from heart failure at the age of 50. Her heartbroken widower, Winston, decided to pay tribute to his wife by planting a forest of 6,000 oak trees, leaving a heart-shaped meadow in the middle. Situated in the middle of a six-acre field near Gloucestershire, England, the massive love letter remained a secret until a hot air balloonist spied it from the air a few years ago.

2. Minnesota

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Someone must be a really proud Minnesotan. In Lake of the Woods County, there lies a massive forest shaped exactly like the North Star State. After an article on the oddly shaped woods ran on Minneapolis’ City Pages site, a commenter replied with the backstory:

"I was a forester in northern Minnesota for some time and I can tell you this. This is state forest land, managed by DNR Division of Forestry. The state employs foresters to design timber harvests to meet many objectives including ecological and economic ones. The forester who designed this timber sale is a veteran at his craft and created this boundary line without the use of gps [sic], but with map and compass instead. The forest type is jack pine, which is an early successional species that colonizes sites after a major disturbance and needs full sun to thrive. This species occurs in fire dependent forests.  Modern timber sales mimic the effect of fire in these landscapes. As such this large opening was created to encourage it's [sic] regeneration. Loggers are contractors of the landowners/land managers, and as such do not have discretion as to the layout of the harvest or other design features. They perform the contract. This forester must have an artistic side.”

3. A Guitar

Across the globe, another romantic husband in mourning wanted to do something big to memorialize his wife, who suffered a cerebral aneurysm while pregnant and died at the age of 25. Graciela Yraizoz loved the guitar, so her husband plotted out a replica on their Argentinian farm that stretches nearly 2/3 of a mile long. The outline is made mostly of cypress trees, while the “strings” are formed by blue eucalyptus.

4. The word "Studebaker"

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There’s a Studebaker in this forest near South Bend, Indiana—and I don’t mean a car. It’s been there since 1937, when the company planted 5,000 pine trees at their proving grounds. The park is apparently publicly accessible now, with signs on the ground helpfully explaining which group of trees is which letter.

5. A Swastika


A forest about 60 miles north of Berlin used to reveal a terrible secret every fall. It seems a Nazi sympathizer once planted a cluster of larch trees in the shape of a swastika. When the trees turned yellow every fall, they stood out against the evergreen forest, showcasing their message of hate. Once the trees were discovered, Brandenburg state authorities removed some in the hopes of disrupting the design. They eventually grew back, and in 2000, the larch trees were cut down entirely.