Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905–1953 . Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011. viii, 232 pp. $27.95 (paper).

Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905–1953 .... When the French writer Louis Viardot ventured into the wilds of Novgorod province and Karelia on various hunting expeditions in the mid-1840s, he reacted with astonishment to the unkempt and “chaotic” nature of Russia’s vast forests, so unlike the carefully managed woodlots he knew in Western Europe, and he bemoaned the haphazard and wasteful fashion in which Russians used and abused their greatest natural resource. A newcomer to the country, Viardot was discovering first-hand that Russians had their own distinct and often contradictory set of cultural attitudes and practices with regard to the forests that sheltered and sustained them. Though Viardot did not see much evidence of it, for most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Russian forest science was in fact in the thrall of German silvicultural thinking, which sought to rationalize and normalize the messy “chaos” of the forest into a maximally productive (and biologically homogeneous) ideal. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century, just as educated Russians were finally waking up to the rapid decimation of their seemingly limitless woodlands, that a homegrown brand of forestry began to take shape, one that did not approach the forests as tree farms, but instead http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Canadian-American Slavic Studies Brill

Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905–1953 . Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011. viii, 232 pp. $27.95 (paper).

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2015 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
ISSN
0090-8290
eISSN
2210-2396
D.O.I.
10.1163/22102396-04901011
Publisher site
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Abstract

When the French writer Louis Viardot ventured into the wilds of Novgorod province and Karelia on various hunting expeditions in the mid-1840s, he reacted with astonishment to the unkempt and “chaotic” nature of Russia’s vast forests, so unlike the carefully managed woodlots he knew in Western Europe, and he bemoaned the haphazard and wasteful fashion in which Russians used and abused their greatest natural resource. A newcomer to the country, Viardot was discovering first-hand that Russians had their own distinct and often contradictory set of cultural attitudes and practices with regard to the forests that sheltered and sustained them. Though Viardot did not see much evidence of it, for most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Russian forest science was in fact in the thrall of German silvicultural thinking, which sought to rationalize and normalize the messy “chaos” of the forest into a maximally productive (and biologically homogeneous) ideal. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century, just as educated Russians were finally waking up to the rapid decimation of their seemingly limitless woodlands, that a homegrown brand of forestry began to take shape, one that did not approach the forests as tree farms, but instead

Journal

Canadian-American Slavic StudiesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2015

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