The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence

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9780226322667: The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence
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Forests are in decline, and the threats these outposts of nature face―including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation―are the result of human culture. Or are they? This volume calls these assumptions into question, revealing forests’ past, present, and future conditions to be the joint products of a host of natural and cultural forces. Moreover, in many cases the coalescence of these forces―from local ecologies to competing knowledge systems―has masked a significant contemporary trend of woodland resurgence, even in the forests of the tropics.

Focusing on the history and current use of woodlands from India to the Amazon, The Social Lives of Forests attempts to build a coherent view of forests sited at the nexus of nature, culture, and development. With chapters covering the effects of human activities on succession patterns in now-protected Costa Rican forests; the intersection of gender and knowledge in African shea nut tree markets; and even the unexpectedly rich urban woodlands of Chicago, this book explores forests as places of significant human action, with complex institutions, ecologies, and economies that have transformed these landscapes in the past and continue to shape them today. From rain forests to timber farms, the face of forests―how we define, understand, and maintain them―is changing.

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About the Author:

Susanna B. Hecht is professor in the Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. She lives in Topanga, CA.

Review:

The Social Lives of Forests offers sophisticated, positive perspectives on forests around the world. The authors’ stimulating ideas address important questions of forest dynamics and management. They also apply to the creation of working landscapes that offer space for people and nature everywhere.” (Tobias Plieninger Science)

“A new book of essays, by academics from several nations, . . . attempts to reverse the conventional wisdom about the state of the world’s forests. The Social Lives of Forests . . . captures an emergent trend in research: that while deforestation does occur, there is roughly as much reforestation occurring. While the writers say more work needs to be done, they say that so far, the evidence either for or against net deforestation is inconclusive. This, of course, has implications for forestry and agricultural policy.” (Rob McKenzie National (UAE))

“A common thread in The Social Lives of Forests is a criticism of nature set-asides as the default conservation model. . . . More people doesn’t necessarily mean less forest and never has. . . . These are contentious, even radical, arguments.” (Lydialyle Gibson University of Chicago Magazine)

“Traditional conservation-based approaches seek to separate humans from the environment, but the authors offer a vision of land management based on an understanding of human and environmental interactions occurring in a rich, interspersed matrix. This understanding has important implications for future forest management that seeks to balance carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and human use. The depth of scholarship and the interdisciplinary approach make this work an important contribution to the subjects of forest management, conservation, ecology, and environmental history. . . . Highly recommended.” (J. L. Rhoades, Antioch University New England Choice)

“With twenty-eight chapters and 500 pages, this is a dense book—and a valuable and welcome one. . . . Compared to many earlier works, this book’s strength and original contribution is about going much deeper on the description and explanation of the human and social forces that lie behind these ‘novel ecosystems.’ . . . The ecology of disturbed forests is of course a fundamental issue, but here we have a strong, multidisciplinary, multi-focused work which definitely establishes that social forces giving rise to human-modified forests cannot anymore remain a fringe topic in sustainability sciences. This book is a valuable reader for scholars and students interested in political ecology, restoration ecology, land change science, and, more broadly, studies of social-ecological systems.” (Patrick Meyfroidt, Université Catholique de Louvain and Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, Belgium Ecology)

“Through careful editorship, in particular the introductions to each of the book’s five parts, Hecht, Morrison, and Padoch show how a social science approach to forests necessarily covers a large number of issues, from those that are purely theoretical or conceptual, to those that are more policy-orientated. The twenty-eight chapters, all written by authors of leading works on tropical and temperate forests, seek to debunk once and for all a number of popular and scientific myths concerning the relationship between forests and peoples. . . . There is no doubt that this rich volume represents an excellent and lasting introduction to the social lives of forests in the contemporary world.” (Laura Rival, University of Oxford Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

“Reiterates the importance of understanding both manmade and natural changes in forested landscapes before conservation issues can be effectively addressed. . . . An important book for environmental scholars, practicing ecologists, and conservation biologists, especially those who are working on issues at the interface of human society and natural ecosystems. Development practitioners, activists, and policy makers will also find this book useful to broaden their perspectives on human-nature linkages.” (Ghazala Shahabuddin, Centre for Ecology Development and Research Current Science (India))

The Social Lives of Forests should have a strong and positive influence on the fields of ecology, conservation, environmental history, and many social sciences. A clear message emerges that established views and conservation approaches based on seeing people as separate from nature―or viewing the land as divided into the pristine and wild versus the humanized and despoiled―are erroneous and doomed to generate unsuccessful policies and approaches to stewardship. These are not novel ideas, but this volume is unusual and valuable in making a forceful case for their validity based on work from many different landscapes and cultures and a great diversity of environmental and historical conditions.” (David R. Foster director of the Harvard Forest, Harvard University)

“Forests are complex ecological entities, but they are also cultural, historical, political, and social, all at once. Above all, say the contributors to this excellent volume, forests are working landscapes with multiple lives and livelihoods. The Social Lives of Forests brings together a posse of the world’s leading scholars of forests who challenge us to think about trees and people in entirely new ways. This book is an exhilarating and intellectually capacious exploration of forests as biomes and as artifacts. A bravura piece of social science scholarship.” (Michael Watts University of California, Berkeley)

“Very engaging. The Social Lives of Forests offers a must-read, highly interdisciplinary perspective yielding fresh, rich insight and incisive accounts of a global swath of sustainability issues and politics surrounding forests and their current and future management, markets, policies, cultures, and conservation along with their incredible past histories. A joy.” (Karl Zimmerer Pennsylvania State University and editor of "Globalization and New Geographies of Conservation")

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Forests are in decline, and the threats these outposts of nature face - including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation - are the result of human culture. Or are they? This volume calls these assumptions into question, revealing forests' past, present, and future conditions to be the joint products of a host of natural and cultural forces. Moreover, in many cases the coalescence of these forces - from local ecologies to competing knowledge systems - has masked a significant contemporary trend of woodland resurgence, even in the forests of the tropics. Focusing on the history and current use of woodlands from India to the Amazon, The Social Lives of Forests attempts to build a coherent view of forests sited at the nexus of nature, culture, and development.With chapters covering the effects of human activities on succession patterns in now-protected Costa Rican forests; the intersection of gender and knowledge in African shea nut tree markets; and even the unexpectedly rich urban woodlands of Chicago, this book explores forests as places of significant human action, with complex institutions, ecologies, and economies that have transformed these landscapes in the past and continue to shape them today. From rain forests to timber farms, the face of forests-how we define, understand, and maintain them-is changing. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226322667

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Forests are in decline, and the threats these outposts of nature face - including deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation - are the result of human culture. Or are they? This volume calls these assumptions into question, revealing forests' past, present, and future conditions to be the joint products of a host of natural and cultural forces. Moreover, in many cases the coalescence of these forces - from local ecologies to competing knowledge systems - has masked a significant contemporary trend of woodland resurgence, even in the forests of the tropics. Focusing on the history and current use of woodlands from India to the Amazon, The Social Lives of Forests attempts to build a coherent view of forests sited at the nexus of nature, culture, and development.With chapters covering the effects of human activities on succession patterns in now-protected Costa Rican forests; the intersection of gender and knowledge in African shea nut tree markets; and even the unexpectedly rich urban woodlands of Chicago, this book explores forests as places of significant human action, with complex institutions, ecologies, and economies that have transformed these landscapes in the past and continue to shape them today. From rain forests to timber farms, the face of forests-how we define, understand, and maintain them-is changing. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226322667

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