Ph.D. Haavisto Juha

128300 €

Economic utility and environmentalism in the Finnish forest thought in the twentieth century

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kolmivuotinen

The forests of Finland have been the cultural and economic foundation of the Finnish identity and society, however, the consequences of treating forests primarily with economic utility has hidden environmental problems. Some of these problems are caused by the climate change but most importantly forests suffer from the loss of biodiversity as a consequence of human action such as vast clear cuttings, drainages, and monoculture plantations. The project argues that these problems cannot be solve without engaging with their intellectual origins. To mend this, the proposed project investigates the origins and developments of the justifications for exploiting natural resources. It explores how rational of these uses was provided by their economic utility and how other justifications were disregarded or downplayed. It employs contextualism to produce an environmental intellectual history and a post-humanist perspective on Finland's engagement with its forests. To investigate the seemingly inevitable nature of our contemporary problems, the project analyses the path dependencies created and strengthened during the twentieth century: the argument of economic utility was challenged environmentalism that emerged to propose an alternative in the 1950s. By analysing works by forestry professionals and environmentalist such as A. K. Cajander, A. E. Järvinen, E. Lähde P. Linkola and N. A. Osara; archives of government offices such as luonnonsuojeluvalvoja and comparing these views with Swedish and British texts on the development of scientific forestry and, it can be shown, how forestry industry continuously developed and vigorously defended their justifications of exploiting natural resources and how the environmentalist tried to counter them. The project opens up new avenues of investigation of the developing, transnational, scientific, modernised forestry and impact of human beings had on the forests as a multi-species entity.