FORESTRY EXPERTISE AND NATIONAL NARRATIVES: SOME CONSEQUENCES FOR OLD-GROWTH CONFLICTS IN FINLAND

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

Environmentalists, especially old-growth activists, often rely on expert discourses which effectively disempower those whose livelihoods depend on forest products. They are often said to do this by fetishising nature as the other. In Finland, which is perhaps the world's most forestry-dependent country, old-growth activism opposing the forest products industry and sustained-yield forestry clearly expresses both desires to seek connection with sublime nature, but also to control and manage nature in an expert idiom much like that of the forestry profession itself. To help explain the prominence of expert discourses the paper charts the historical emergence of Finland as a nation-state, made economically dependent on timber products, but also characterised by a national culture emphasising forest-nature as something quintessentially Finnish. These two national narratives helped seal a national "forest consensus" which is now, however, being challenged with the very language that created it in the first place.

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