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* The Social Lives of Forest Transitions and Successions

* The Social Lives of Forest Transitions and Successions

Theories of Forest Resurgence

(p.97) 8 * The Social Lives of Forest Transitions and Successions
The Social Lives of Forests
Susanna B. Hecht
University of Chicago Press

Forest resurgence or forest transition—the widespread recovery of forests in the tropics and more generally—is explained in several bodies of bio-social and economic theory, including urbanization, economic efficiency, environmental politics, and globalization of labor and commodity markets, many of which are derived from work in the temperate zone. Although earlier 19th and 20th century processes have relevance, current dynamics are often far different. This chapter reviews the debates regarding the social natures of forests as parts of different kinds of successions and transitions, as well as the emerging politics of environmental services. It suggests that twenty-first century rural politics may revolve somewhat less around the “agrarian question” and rather more around debates over environmental enclosures where “re-wooded” and inhabited landscapes vie with conservation and “re-wilding” set asides or with efficiency forests (plantations) for the capital flows associated with the emerging carbon economy and new attention to the ecological impacts of commodity chains.

Keywords:   Forest transition, Globalization, Urbanization, migrations and forest resurgence, environmental economies, Amazon, Central America, political ecology, re-wilding, re-wooding

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