Nature, Culture, and Politics
Char Miller, ed.
Endangered ecosystem or renewable resource? How we feel about forests has to do with more than trees.
This interdisciplinary collection of essays examines the history of forestry in the United States, exploring the impact of the discipline on natural and human landscapes since the mid-nineteenth century. Through important articles that have helped define the field, it assesses the development of the forestry profession and the U.S. Forest Service, analyzes the political and scientific controversies that have marked forestry's evolution, and discloses the transformations in America's commitment to its forested estate.
“Important reading for anyone concerned about the future of forests in America.”
“This collection of essays, consistently well written and researched, traces the ebb and flow of forest management history. The book is a solid primer that uses the past as prelude to the future.”
—Journal of the WestSee all reviews...
“Explicitly, the book profiles the conservation and use of American forests since the birth of the conservation movement last in the last century. Implicitly, the book profiles the continuing development of the field of environmental history over the last fifteen years or so and suggests its future direction. On both counts it succeeds.”
“Drawing on the insights of scholars in conservation and ecology, history, law, and political science, this work is a definitive collection on American forest history. Leading environmental scholars assess the development of the forestry profession, analyze the political and scientific controversies that have marked its evolution, and consider competing claims on national forests, including sport, recreation, and industry.”
“This well-chosen and well-organized collection covers the history of American forest management from the origins of scientific forestry and the first forest reserves to the Salvage Logging Rider.”
—Pacific Northwest Quarterly
“This book will be of enduring value not only to environmental and forest historians and their students, but to anyone attempting to understand the present crisis that encompasses America’s forests.”
“There is great value to bringing these peices together. The line-up of authors is impressive indeed.”
—Thomas Cox, author of The Park Builders and This Well-Wooded LandSee fewer reviews...
American Forests highlights the intersection of the political, social, and environmental forces that have determined the use and abuse of American forests. It examines changes both in the assumptions that have defined forest management and in the scientific approach to—and political justification for—timber harvesting in our national forests. It sheds light on the ongoing debate between utilization and conservation, addressing arguments from environmentalists, the timber industry, sportsmen, and politicians while exploring the interaction between public opinion and public policy. It provides sharp insights into the most important players in the politics of forestry, from George Perkins Marsh and Berhard Fernow to Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt. And it addresses issues as wide-ranging as budgeting, clearcutting, and the regulation of livestock grazing on national forest lands.
This multifaceted volume draws on the insights of scholars in conservation and ecology, economics, history, law, and political science to make a definitive contribution to the study and practice of forestry. By both clarifying and extending recent debate about the political purpose, scientific character, and environmental rationales of forestry in America, it will help define the place of forests in our future.