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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Forestation and its Discontents: The Invention of an Uncertain Landscape in Southwestern France, 1850-Present

Samuel Temple

Environment and History 17 (2011): 13-34. doi: 10.3197/096734011X12922359172853

This article examines the politics of forestation and fire prevention in the Landes region of France, one of the largest contiguous forests in Europe. It argues that the monoculture forest of maritime pine, promoted by both the French state and local landowners in the nineteenth century, represents an uncertain environment that has eluded the control of its creators. The economic, social and political costs of this engineered forest, it is suggested, reflect the cultures of risk that have accompanied territorial transformation schemes in modern France.

KEYWORDS: Modern France, forestation, disaster, state-building, modernisation, risk

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