Document Type


Publication Date



This article looks at the conservation of American forests in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to cast light on the prospects for global forest conservation in the twenty-first. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Americans understood their forests as good only for cutting. By the end of the century a national scheme existed for comprehensive and permanent forest conservation. This new scheme became possible thanks to changes in scientific knowledge, the ideological self-image of the country, political institutions, and the imagination and moral commitments of citizens and social movements. A look at the changes that laid the foundations of national forest conservation might help to show what would have to happen for international forest conservation to emerge. Alternatively, it might highlight differences between those past developments and present circumstances, showing how past is not prologue. In this case, the upshot is some of both.


Environmental Law | Law