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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Native Forest and the Rise of Preservation in New Zealand (1903-1913)

Paul Star

Environment and History 8(2002): 275-294

This paper analyses the turning-point in attitudes to the most distinctive feature of one nation's indigenous environment. Some conservation of New Zealand's native forest began long before the Scenery Preservation Act of 1903, but until then the primary motivation was economic. After 1903, aesthetics and national identity became recognised as important additional factors. In 1913, the Forestry Commission found that managed native forest was incommensurate with New Zealand's long-term timber requirements. This left the way clear for preservation for primarily non-economic reasons to become, increasingly, the hallmark of New Zealand's approach to native forest.

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