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The Social Lives of ForestsPast, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence$
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Susanna B. Hecht, Kathleen D. Morrison, and Christine Padoch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226322667

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226024134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

* Adam Smith in the Forest

* Adam Smith in the Forest

(p.45) 4 * Adam Smith in the Forest
The Social Lives of Forests

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter highlights several Scottish forest history themes that have modern echoes. Through a discussion of the Caledonian forests of Scotland, the chapter explores the idea of a “primal forest” and its conjectural histories through: (1) their supposed destruction by either by Roman legions (colonialism) or peasants; (2) the idea that restoration managed by aristocrats and natural historians would return Scotland's forests to their ancient and authentic state; (3) that forests embodied a moral order; and (4) competing narratives of nature management: On the one side, unstable, yet iconic landscapes that needed to be managed by the crown, aristocrats, or natural historians, on the other the self-regulating action of harmonious and equitable trade in timber that leached landscapes of their symbolic content and treated them as pure commodities, ideally affected through markets. Adam Smith rejected the symbolism of landscapes for a world of unsentimental exchange and mutual advantage, and lauded the international markets that brought Norwegian woods for the construction of Edinburgh.

Keywords:   Scotland, Caledonian forests, conjectural histories, ideologies of forest management, environmental history, forest trade, Adam Smith

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