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Patriotism, Maple Syrup, and Hippie Camps: Multiple Meanings and Uses of Canada's Forests

Thu, April 11, 10:30am to 12:00pm, Hyatt Regency Columbus, Champaign

Session Submission Type: Panel


The papers in this session all examine how the history of forest resource management has intersected with the cultural history of nature in changing perceptions, meanings, and uses of Canada's forests. They all focus on the twentieth century, from 1900 to 1975, and span the country from the Maritime provinces in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west.
All three papers show how experts from government agencies worked to shape perceptions and understandings of Canada’s forest environments. In the case of maple forests in eastern Canada, they sought to steer rural producers along paths that they believed would make better long-term uses of these agro-forestry resources. In the case of the contested timberlands around the resort towns of Banff and Jasper, they sought to protect the popular tourist reputation of strategically located forests within national parks. And in the case of early forest engineers in Quebec, their active campaign to cultivate positive public sentiments around the province’s forests was the cultural component of a larger program of modernization and ‘scientific’ management. In tracing the diverse and changing values and uses associated with Canada’s forests, this session helps advance the study of that field beyond its traditional fixation on the political economy of industrial resource extraction, and provides fuller picture of the social and cultural significance of its forest environments.

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