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Scientific paper


Socioecological Dynamics of Resurgent Forests: Lessons for Degrowth

Christine Biermann, Becky Mansfield

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014


Abstract: This paper considers resurgent, or regrowing, forests, asking: What dynamics drive forest re-growth? How do economic changes articulate with ecological processes, and to what ends? Drawing on research in Appalachian Ohio, we add to critiques of forest transition theory, which states that after decades if not centuries of forest loss, countries begin to experience increases in forest cover as economies shift toward service industries, populations migrate to cities, and marginal agricultural land is released. Here we contend that it necessary to look under the canopy to complicate the relationship between forests and economies. By identifying six forest types in our study area, we show that forest recovery is not a singular path, and that forests can recover through markedly different social, economic, and ecological pathways. In other words, we argue that economic growth is not the only—or necessarily the quickest, easiest, or most beneficial—pathway to forest recovery.

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