246 DELONG 2. Seeing the forest Scott’s Seeing Like a State begins with a ride through eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German forestry. In Germany, “scientiﬁc” forestry led to the planting and harvesting of large monocrop forests of Norway spruce and Scotch pine. And for the ﬁrst century or so the pockets of forest-owners bulged as more and more valuable trees were harvested from the increasingly-ordered and managed forests. But the foresters did not understand the ecological web that they were trying to manage: Clearing of underbrush to make it easier for lumberjacks to move about in the forest “greatly reduced the diversity of insect, mammal, and bird populations” (p. 20); the absence of animals and the absence of rotting wood on the forest ﬂoor greatly reduced the replenishment of the soil with nutrients. In places where all the trees are mature, of the same age and of the same species, storms can wreak catastrophe as trees knock each other over like bowling pins. Pests and parasites that attack a particular species ﬁnd a bonanza and grow to epidemic proportions when they ﬁnd a monocrop forest. The result was what Scott calls Waldsterben—the death of the forest, as it becomes both
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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