Songs for Trees and Forests

“A Good Tree Makes Life Bearable”– image from Environmental T-Shirts

Welcome to “The Overstory” in Song. For Thanksgiving, we are pleased to share a playlist of environmental songs about trees, forests, and forest defenders.

This playlist of tree songs spans decades. We begin with the famous Irish traditional Bonny Portmore, about the destruction of Ireland’s ancient oak trees (from the late 1700s); Dozens of artists have recorded this song. And we found an early musical rendition of Joyce Kilmer’s poem, Trees, by country singers – Sons of the Pioneers, recorded in 1946.

This playlist is full of surprises – with songs for Chestnuts, Oaks, Sycamores, Redwoods, Bristlecone Pines, and so many more. From the highlands of Appalachia to the redwoods of California and the rainforests of the Amazon, recording artists remind us to pay attention, remember the names of trees, and stand with the forests.

This is by no means a complete song list. See our Earth Song List by topics (Biodiversity & Habitat) for a more complete ecosong list. Suggestions are welcome.

To hear a sample of songs and artists, enjoy our playlist for Trees & Forests. Enjoy.

Playlist for Trees & Forests

Tree & Forests Songlist and descriptions

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a start.

  • Forest Music Compilation – “If a Tree Falls” – from 2006 under the Rhino label, featuring:
    • If a Tree Falls by Bruce Cockburn
    • A Cry in the Forest by Dan Fogleberg
    • The Devil and the Trees by Zero
    • Trees like to rot in the forest by The Tinklers
    • Kiss Mother Nature Goodbye by Hank Williams Jr.
    • The Only Green World by Rumors of the Big Wave
    • Never Alone by Joanne Rand
    • Heart of Destruction by Ferron
    • Defend the Earth by Alice Di Micele
    • Where are we gonna work when the trees are gone by Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon
    • Priests of the Golden Bull by Buffy Saint Marie
    • Trees by Robert Hoyt
    • Farewell to Clayoquot Sound by the Wyrd Sisters
    • Song of the Trees by John Trudell
  • Bonnie Portmore by Loreena McKennitt from “The Visit” (1991)

O, bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore, for many’s the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away

O, bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you, the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore

All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, “Where shall we shelter? Where shall we sleep?”
For the Oak and the Ash, they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground

  • A Day in the Life of a Tree by Matthew Sweet
  • Amazon by Eric Bogle
  • Amazon by John Denver
  • Branching Out by John Gorka
  • Bristlecone Pine by Charlie Sizemore
  • Carolina in the Pines by Michael Martin Murphy
  • Carry Me by Mimi Baczewka
  • Cathedral in the Pines by WayStation
  • Chestnut by Magpie
  • Clearcut by Blue Highway
  • Forest Song by Peg Millett
  • Found Dead on a Fenceline by Davisson Brothers Band
  • Greenbrier by Yaima
  • Hungry World by Rising Appalachia, Aja Black of the Reminders
  • I Dream a Redwood by Lillian Allen
  • Jaguar by Fred Small
  • King of Trees by Yusaf/Cat Stevens
  • Logging to Infinity by Judi Bari
  • Maxaam’s on the Horizon, You Can’t Clearcut Your Way to Heaven, and many more by Darryl Cherney
  • Ode to the trees by Silent Bear
  • Oak and Ash and Thorn by Kiva
  • Pinewood Blues by Christopher Shaw
  • Rainforest Song by Magpie
  • Redwood by Joanne Rand
  • Redwood Tree by Van Morrison
  • Requiem by Eileen McGann and David Woodhead
  • Skagit Valley Forever by Malvina Reynolds
  • Somebody’s habitat by Earth Mama
  • Sown in the Needle of Pines by Dale Crider
  • Stand Like an Oak (full band) by Rising Appalachia
  • Tall Trees by Yearbook Committee
  • The Beaver Song by Alice Di Micele
  • The Names of Trees by Carolyn Hester
  • The Tree by Dana Lyons and John Seed
  • The Trees are Testifying by Peter Himmelman
  • These are the ancient forests by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz
  • Tree by Audrey Auld
  • Tree Polka by Earth Mama
  • Trees by Sons of the Pioneers
  • Whoops by Blues Travelers
  • Wild as we came here by The Steel Wheels
  • Witch Hazel by Priscilla Herdman, Ann Hills, and Cindy Mangsen

Tree Songs for Kids

  • I’m a Tree by Banana Slug Band
  • Pretty Paper, Pretty Trees by Bill Oliver
  • Have to Have a Habitat by Bill Oliver, Glen Waldeck & The Otter Space Band
  • Rainforest in your backyard by Bill Oliver, Glen Waldeck & The Otter Space Band
  • Weeping Willow by Blake Rowe
  • The Forest is Calling by Charlotte Diamond
  • We Must Take Care by Chris McKhool
  • Sing of the Forest by Chris McKhool
  • Rainforest by Darrell Scott
  • Rainforest Ants by Dharmika
  • Mangrove by Dharmika
  • I want to grow up by Douglas Clegg
  • Trees, Tree Polka, and Somebody’s Habitat by Earth Mama
  • In the Amazon by Fred Gee
  • The Rainforests by Fred Gee
  • Forest and Rain by Gail Lynn Dreifus, Annie Barrett, and the Recycled String Band
  • Everglades Symphony by Okefenokee Joe
  • Maple Syrup by Grant Orenstein & The Fiddlehead Society
  • The Butternut Tree by Grant Orenstein & The Fiddlehead Society
  • The Rainforest Song by J.P. Taylor and the Academics
  • Slash and burn by J.P. Taylor and the Academics
  • Old Redwood Tree by John Houston & Winnie Fitch
  • Home is a Habitat by Judy Leonard
  • Free the trees by Kathleen Gibson
  • Plant a tree by Laura and Patti
  • The Boy and the Bear by Lisa Atkinson
  • In the Jungle Tonight by Lois Skiera-Zucek
  • Jesse Tree by Mary Lu Walker
  • Do you care about air by Peggy Eyres
  • Evergreen, Everblue by Raffi
  • Trees are so beautiful by Rose Water Infirmary
  • Tree of Life by Sarah Pirtle
  • Let’s Go up the Forest by Stan Slaughter
  • Amanda the Panda by Terri Thurman
  • Trees by The Green Chili Jam Band
  • My Roots go Down by The Kids’ Earth Chorus
  • Trees by The Van Manens
  • Old Tree by Tim Cain
  • Ancient Rain Forest by Tom Callinan and Ann Shapiro
  • Room to spread her wings by Two of a Kind
  • If I were a Tree by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz
  • How An Owl Says Howdidoo by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz
  • Beaversong by Waterbound