SuttaCentral

Is it stealing to take a plant from the forest?


#1

Currently debating in my head if it’s stealing to take leaves, or small bits of vegetation/plant matter out of the public forest areas.

Bit of a silly question I know. I was wondering what you guys thought? I guess the government owns it, am I stealing from the government?


#2

Which country? which park?

The laws and regulations vary a bit from place to place, but in the United States it is generally against the law to take anything from a public park.


#3

From the Buddhist perspective I guess the question is whether, pursuant to the training rule, one is refraining from taking that which is not given. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

Removing some leaves or small bits of vegetation may not be legal, depending on what kind of property you’re in. Examining one’s intention, and being mindful of kamma, the main question might be: “what is the kammic weight of what I am intending to do?” Taking a few dead leaves from a forest floor seems de minimus. Taking plants that are rare or valuable with the intention of replanting them at your home, might involve both civil/criminal violations, and heavier kamma. All part of the analysis.


#4

No not a good idea. I work in Parks and it’s sad and frustrating to see plants and habitats being treated like a free for all commodity. These plants where they are trees, shrubs, perennials and even leaves have benefits to other organisms and animal life. The health of trees depends on leaves whether it’s for moisture retention or to sustain the tree through the cooler months. Please consider your actions in parks , gardens and any other areas where plant life is found and support the horticultural and arborist industries and actually purchase plants and care and love them as much as you would animals and people. Cheers b x


#5

I volunteer as a “coast watcher” along the Oregon coast (USA) to monitor the changing conditions along a mile of beach. As part of my quarterly reports, among the many things I am asked to comment on are observations I make of people removing shells, rocks, driftwood, or other items lying on the beach. Technically it’s against the law to remove anything from a beach in Oregon since all beaches in the state are considered public parkland. Still, I routinely see people taking home shells, etc. as souvenirs. There’s not a whole lot that can be done about it other than trying to raise public awareness.