Hollywood Forever | Tree Burial and Natural Burial Options
Over its 121-year history, Hollywood Forever Cemetery has borne witness to great changes in the needs and sensibilities of the Los Angeles communities we have been privileged to serve. New generations of clients whose lives are guided by a heightened sense of environmental responsibility are eager for a form of memorialization that leaves as little impact on the planet as possible. Having explored many natural burial options, we are pleased to bring memorial tree burial to Hollywood Forever. We are also proud to offer green burial as a certified Hybrid Cemetery by the highly respected Green Burial Council.
Hollywood Forever’s Vision for Environmentally Friendly Burial
As a historic, urban cemetery, we believe our mission at Hollywood Forever is constantly evolving to serve the needs of our clients and surrounding communities. Now, more than ever, we hear a wish that your final arrangements are kind to the earth — even, if possible, an act of giving back to the planet, rather than taking from it. In 2005, we asked a different question: What if your final resting place could preserve and conserve natural spaces?
Inspired by Fernwood Cemetery
After studying the growing popularity of the emerging natural woodland burial cemeteries in the United Kingdom, our team reimagined a historic Marin County cemetery into a pioneering example of eco-friendly green burial in the San Francisco Bay area. This green cemetery substitutes traditional burial methods with natural processes and biodegradable options, with a focus on land conservation and restoration.
The resulting Fernwood Cemetery, offers our Northern California clients the choice of burial in natural pine boxes, shrouds, and even the occasional Coeio burial mushroom suit of Ted Talk fame. A visionary green cemetery, Fernwood has eschewed traditional burial in favor of eco-friendly burial, replacing a casket burial with an organic burial pod or biodegradable urn. Each natural burial in a restored meadow or woodland contributes to the ecological restoration of the landscape for long-term preservation. Many of these green burial spaces are then marked by memorial coast oaks, redwoods, or simply engraved natural boulders.
Green Burial at Hollywood Forever
Though we maintain a manicured landscape at Hollywood Forever, we do allow green burial for those who wish to be buried without embalming and the use of concrete or fabricated burial vaults. According to this method, bodies are interred in either a natural wood casket without metal, or a cloth burial shroud, or the Infinity Burial Suit. In the absence of a burial vault, the remaining soil is mounded over the grave and levels slowly and naturally over time.
Transfers to Fernwood for Natural Green Burial
Many times a year, we arrange for transfers from Southern California to our sister facility in Marin County. With increasing frequency, we help survivors whose loved ones specified their wish for green burial in a natural landscape. We will refer you to one of our co-workers in Northern California to assist in selecting a space in one of our beautiful oak forests or native grass and wildflower meadows.
Hollywood Forever’s Ancestral Forest Project and Tree Burial
Unlike the meadows and forests of Fernwood, Hollywood Forever is in the heart of Los Angeles. Our lawns are endowed by past purchasers to be green and manicured, providing an ideal, long-term environment for planting and fostering more trees — creating a forest even where once there were open lawns.
Over the past fifteen years, we have learned from our clients at Fernwood that, for many, the most compelling, meaningful memorial option is the planting of a native tree. These special tree burials provide a unique opportunity to celebrate a loved one’s life by making the planet a healthier, more beautiful space.
Inspired by this, the Ancestral Forest Project at Hollywood Forever re-imagines our 52 acres as an ever-growing ancestral forest with hundreds of new memorial trees planted year after year, creating a dense forest of memory where future generations will come to honor those who came before them. Each tree burial will be a moving testament to a life lived.
Give Back to the Natural World
This resulting Ancestral Forest will conserve water, cool the surrounding cityscape, process CO2, and release oxygen into the environment.
Your memorial tree on our green burial site will provide a sanctuary for wildlife (and for our cats and peacocks) for years to come.
With your final act, you can leave behind an environmental legacy of hope and renewal.
How The Ancestral Forest Project Works
1. Select a Tree Burial or Natural Burial Space
Choose from the hundreds of viable spaces where a memorial tree will have enough light and room to thrive.
2. Select a Tree
You may plant a new tree, or you may choose to place cremated remains near an existing tree.
For new tree plantings, we prefer California live oaks (quercus agriolia) although we are happy to consider other options, especially hearty, native species that are beneficial to the environment and its local flora and fauna. Once you have made a selection, we will procure your beautiful tree from our trusted source.
Space sufficient for at least two cremation plots adjoins every newly planted memorial tree on our burial ground. Additional, adjacent spaces can accommodate entire families, now and into the future.
If you select a space adjacent to an existing tree, a contribution will be made to an endowment trust that will provide for the tree’s care and, if necessary, replacement.
3. Tree Planting Ceremony
Seeding the roots of a new tree with the cremated remains of someone beloved to you builds a bridge between a life well-lived and one that is just beginning. Bearing witness to the natural cycles of life can offer intuitive healing for survivors and loved-ones.
For new trees, the planting can also be incorporated into the tree burial ceremony.
Cremated remains are mixed with the roots and soil of the tree near its base – either during planting or adjacent to existing trees.
A biodegradable urn will foster the growth of the new tree while still remaining ecologically respectful. We welcome the use of the Living Urn and Bio Urn systems, both of which combine cremated remains with nutrients to provide optimal conditions for a new tree to thrive. Either tree burial urn you choose will be welcome on our green burial ground.
Rather than the saplings suggested for these two systems, we opt for hardy, robust trees — at least 8 years of age — whose viability is assured.
With our Heritage Program, you may select to have your cremated remains placed in a space adjacent to one of our existing mature trees, including our cypress sentinels, California fan palms, redwoods, olives, and numerous other species.
A portion of your fund will be placed into an endowment trust to ensure the long-term care and maintenance of your living memorial, or its replacement, if necessary. Some species, like California Fan Palms, have a lifespan of 80 to 250 years.
— from $6,600
Memorial Tree Program
Newly planted memorial trees that accommodate the placement of two sets of cremated remains: from $13,750. Additional cremation rights may be purchased.
Family Tree Program
Newly planted memorial trees that accommodate the placement of six sets of cremated remains: from $27,500. Additional cremation rights may be purchased.
Further Memorialization Options
In addition to the tree itself, a simply engraved natural boulder placed at the base of your living memorial can offer a beautiful tribute and complementary form of memorialization.
To learn more, please contact us. We invite you to make an appointment for a personalized tour of our grounds and facilities.