Against the Grain: Foresters and Politics in Nova Scotia by Peter Clancy, Anders Sandberg

By Peter Clancy, Anders Sandberg

Proposing case stories foresters from 1920 onwards, this article finds a wealthy culture of different and dissenting practices mixed with expert and political orthodoxies. the purpose is to demonstrate the general public and environmental demanding situations that engulf modern forestry.

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Extra resources for Against the Grain: Foresters and Politics in Nova Scotia

Sample text

Another fascinating property of forest ideologies is that they may be expressed both in very simple and in very complex terms. In the midst of a confrontation between loggers and old-growth forest preservationists, the dialogue (or, as it is sometimes labelled, the discourse) can be sharp and blunt. ’ Both sides may be willing to accept this formulation, while differing on how to resolve it. In such a case, it helps to make sense of an intractable problem, with each side invoking worthy preferred outcomes.

Perhaps unwittingly, the profession has added to this impression. This derives in part from the specialized language and somewhat esoteric concerns that dominate most professional deliberations. The terms invoked are typically about manipulation and control of a promiscuous Mother Nature. The forester’s role is to ‘protect’ trees from various ‘enemies,’ such as insects, fires, and storms. In all likelihood, the professional outlook is also a product of the diffidence shared by most foresters, reluctant to step squarely into social or political controversy.

The foresters were not unmindful of the conflicting pulls of the workplace. In pulp and paper firms, most foresters were attached to a woodlands division, in which they worked under the authority of the woodlands manager. Here there was definite room for tension between the forest development mandate of the professionals and the fibre production imperative of the managers. This could crystalize in any number of issues: the range of forester duties that went beyond inventory cruising; the choice of harvesting by clearcut or selection cut; the extent to which the ease of cutting crews would be qualified by the needs of site regeneration; and the disposal of slash and other wastes left at the cutting site.

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