Attitudes in Britain to forests and trees are changing. Plantation forests - the product of the 'strategic reserve of timber' vision that held sway in the early twentieth century, and was turned into a physical reality by the Forestry Commission - are no longer fashionable.
Today's forests are required to be sustainable, multi-purpose, and biologically diverse. They are expected to possess a 'spirit of place', be aesthetically pleasing, and help alleviate poverty and social exclusion in cities and remote rural areas. This book traces the changing fortune of forests and trees in Britain and people's changing relations with them. It investigates traditional woodland management practices, and considers how they came to be supplanted by scientific forestry knowledge and methods. It examines the development of the Forestry Commission and its body of foresters, looks at the symbolic function of forests and trees, and assesses the claim that present day forestry has become a postmodern phenomenon. A Critical Geography of Britain's State Forests will prove useful not only to foresters and nature conservationists, but to all those who are interested in how human beings socially and biophysically construct the environment, driven by a constant urge to find their place and meaning within it.