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American Society of Landscape Architects


April 2004 Issue

Natural Burial, British Style
Ten years after the first "green burial" site, how has the form evolved?

By Andy Clayden

Natural Burial, British Style
Andy Clayden

The article "A Natural Death" (Landscape Architecture, October 2002), highlighted the development of alternative, environmentally sensitive approaches to human burial at Ramsey Creek, South Carolina. The article noted that "green burial" is more widespread in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States, and that it is typically associated with reforestation rather than existing woodlands. Since this article was written, "natural burial," as it is now commonly called, has continued to gain in popularity in the United Kingdom. The latest edition of the Natural Death Handbook (see Resources) lists 182 sites, 45 of which are in various stages of the planning process. This is more than double the number of sites recorded in 2000. As the number of natural burial grounds has increased, different interpretations of this form of burial have emerged. This diversity begins to challenge how we might define natural burial. What is it that distinguishes a natural burial ground from a conventional cemetery?.

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