Constituting Suburban Nature: The Ecologies and Politics of Forests, Deer, and People

Authors: Anne Short Gianotti*, Boston University, John P Casellas Connors, Texas A&M
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Animal Geographies
Keywords: more-than-human, wildlife, conservation, suburban
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Suburban and urban development directly and indirectly reshapes the ecological and social dynamics of forested ecosystems, changing patterns of land cover, habitat and wildlife populations, and the politics and practice of conservation and wildlife management. In this presentation, we explore the dynamic relationships between forests, wildlife, and humans, and the politics of sub/urban forest and wildlife management through a discussion of deer and forest management in the Northeastern United States, where concerns about the effects of growing deer populations on forest and human well-being have spurred controversial deer management programs on public and private lands. We review the well-established ecological research that shows how deer can reshape forested ecosystems and focus on the contemporary micropolitics of deer and forest management. Our research reveals the entanglements of forest, wildlife, and human health politics. We show the ways that debates over if and how to manage deer populations are driven by human-deer interactions, multi-species knowledge controversies, and shifting ideas about the ecological, aesthetic, and cultural roles of urban and suburban nature. We argue that the ‘local’ nature of these conflicts and management decisions shifts the scale of forest management with implications for the future of forests and wildlife.

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