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Feminist remote sensing: Situating knowledge in the case of Chile’s forest plantation expansion

Authors: Lindsey Carte*, Universidad De La Frontera, Molly Polk*, University of Texas at Austin
Topics: Gender, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Latin America
Keywords: remote sensing, feminist methods, Chile, extractivism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In Chile’s Araucanía Region, the expansion of pine and eucalyptus forest plantations over the last twenty years has transformed the landscape, land tenure systems, modes of agricultural production, and is linked to migration from the countryside. This paper discusses our intersectional feminist-mixed methods approach to co-create situated knowledges regarding these transformations, and in particular, focuses on our use of remote sensing in conjunction with feminist fieldwork. As feminist scholars recalling Haraway’s oft-cited Cartesian “view from no-where” have pointed out, remotely sensed data is not value neutral (Haraway 1991, Liftin 1997, Carey et al. 2016). The production of landscape change knowledge is privileged in spite of the fact that much remotely sensed imagery and processing software are freely available and easily accessed. This creates unequal access to knowledge and its production as well as potentially reinforcing imbalanced power relationships. In this article, we describe the methods we employed in the design and process of fieldwork in Chile in order to bridge scales and situate landscape analysis. Drawing on feminist political ecology, participatory mapping, and feminist glaciology, and based on findings from initial fieldwork, we contend that there is promise in the integration of feminism, remote sensing, and land change. Deeper engagement with critical approaches to remote sensing and landscapes in transition would take into account diverse points of view to include voices that are typically excluded.

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