This panel examines the multifaceted and rapidly developing roles played by forestry in societies around the world in the transitional moment of the aftermath of World War I (approximately 1917-1930). This was a moment when newly independent states sought to harness both the products of forestry (timber, pulp, paper and packaging materials) and its associated practices (land ownership regimes, forestry research and state-guided forest management) in the urgent process of nation-building that spanned the fields of economics, politics and science. Simultaneously, multinational, Western-based wood industry companies were spreading and securing their reach around the world on all continents, often in contested relations with local authorities and communities. And in colonial contexts like British India and the Dutch East Indies, imperial powers were seeking to establish profitable wood plantations, partly to cover the costs of the recent war. These developments saw forestry centred firmly at the intersection of the national, international and transnational, as the subject of multiple overlapping global flows of commerce, investment and research. This panel provides a trans-domain investigation of this key moment of forestry development that seeks to go beyond existing literature both by its explicitly global frame of reference and by integrating economic, political and scientific levels of analysis to the approaches of environmental history. We also welcome papers that consider the forest itself as a site of nation-building, transnational connectivity or political contestation; as well as papers that interrogate the changing role of animal life and labour within forestry thinking and policies in the period.
The World Congress of Environmental History takes place in Oulu, Finland on 19-23 August 2024. The deadline for paper proposals is 18 September 2023. This panel is organised by Dr Juha Haavisto (University of Turku) and Dr Mikko Toivanen (FU Berlin); questions can be directed to the email addresses below (please send to both). For full details and information on the application process, see the conference website: https://wceh2024.com/programme#13475