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Intensive Forestry as Progress or Decay? An Analysis of the Debate about Forest Fertilization in Sweden, 1960–2010
Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Umeå University, 90187 Umeå, Sweden
Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2010 / Accepted: 14 January 2011 / Published: 20 January 2011
Abstract: In the mid-1960s, fertilization (with nitrogen) had a breakthrough as a promising forest management method in Swedish company owned forests. The activity grew and peaked during the 1970s but then lost ground and stabilized at a low level in the 1990s and early 2000s. Over the last five years, however, interest in fertilizing Swedish forests has increased again. In this article both the forestry industry’s, and the environmental movement’s, attitudes toward forest fertilization over time are investigated. Furthermore, conflicting persistent ideas about nature and future, i.e., “figures of thought”, within interest groups, representing forestry and the environmental movement respectively, are identified and analyzed in relation to the debate on fertilization. The analysis reveals mainly three figures of thought that have influenced this debate during the period, “the idea of progress”, “the idea of decay” and “the idea of the great chain of being”. The study thus sheds light on how the relationship between forestry and the environmental movement has evolved from the 1960s until today and uncovers thought patterns that have stood, and continue to stand, in opposition to one another.
Keywords: Swedish forestry; forest fertilization; environmental history; forest history; environmental debate; discourse analysis; figures of thought
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Lindkvist, A.; Kardell, Ö.; Nordlund, C. Intensive Forestry as Progress or Decay? An Analysis of the Debate about Forest Fertilization in Sweden, 1960–2010. Forests 2011, 2, 112-146.
Lindkvist A, Kardell Ö, Nordlund C. Intensive Forestry as Progress or Decay? An Analysis of the Debate about Forest Fertilization in Sweden, 1960–2010. Forests. 2011; 2(1):112-146.
Lindkvist, Anna; Kardell, Örjan; Nordlund, Christer. 2011. "Intensive Forestry as Progress or Decay? An Analysis of the Debate about Forest Fertilization in Sweden, 1960–2010." Forests 2, no. 1: 112-146.