Havas Germany Made Trees ‘Scream’ to Fend Off Illegal Loggers

Forests are outfitted with devices that alert authorities at the sound of chainsaws.

The initiative protects the trees while also raising awareness of their existence. Screaming Trees
Headshot of Alissa Fleck

Some of the last European primeval forests in Romania are being illegally depleted every day, and Havas Germany has had enough. The agency has launched an initiative to raise awareness not only that these forests being destroyed, but also to inform people that they still exist in the first place.

The devices affixed to the trees alert local authorities to the sound of chainsaw.

“Many people even do not know that we still have primeval forests in Europe or that their remnants are being destroyed right at the moment,” said Darren Richardson, chief commercial officer at Havas Düsseldorf and executive creative director digital for Havas Europe. “With ‘Screaming Trees’ we wanted to clear up this injustice and raise awareness across national boundaries for the issue—this is a common heritage and local state apparatuses as well as we all have responsibility to act instead of just watching it disappear.”

Playing on the notion that the deforestation typically happens in silence, Havas teamed up with Romanian NGO Agent Green to give the trees “a voice,” according to Richardson. The name of the project is, however, a metaphor—the trees themselves do not make sounds, lest the attackers be warned that they were detected, the company said. The agency developed a proprietary device that can detect the sound of chainsaws, which in turn triggers a signal to local authorities that help is needed.



@AlissaFleck Alissa Fleck is a New York City-based reporter, podcast producer and contributor to Adweek.