Beattie, J. & Star, P. (2010). Global influences and local environments: Forestry and forest conservation in New Zealand, 1850s-1925. British Scholar Journal, 2, 191-218.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5435
This article examines the multiple factors that shaped the establishment of forest conservation and tree-planting in the colony of New Zealand. It presents a new perspective on forest history in New Zealand from the 1850s to the 1920s by examining the interplay of local and global factors in the development of forestry, while also suggesting future research topics in this area. Using the case-study of New Zealand, as an ancillary focus the article presents new interpretations of the exchange and introduction of forestry ideas, suggesting a need to re-examine the importance of locality in the period leading up to the emergence of ‘empire forestry’ in the twentieth century. With this in mind, it takes as one of its perspectives the work of historian of science David Livingstone, who has emphasised the importance of local factors in shaping the spread of scientific ideas. In light of Livingstone’s ideas, we demonstrate that while it makes sense to consider New Zealand forest policy both nationally and internationally, there were also significant local variations in policy according to geography, politics and other factors. These included uneven forest distribution throughout the country, slower growth-rates of indigenous trees and the impact of geography on forest removal and conservation. As well, long-standing political aversion to government interference in society restricted the role of the state in active forest management, giving greater latitude to private tree-planters. Meanwhile, New Zealand’ smaller government and population offered greater power to individuals than perhaps would be open to those living in larger societies with bigger government bureaucracies.
Edinburgh University Press
This article has been published in the journal: British Scholar Journal. Used with permission.