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Risk, experiment, technology – governing mediterranean forests in times of climate crises

Authors: Juliane Schumacher*,
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Mediterranean, forests, governmentality, climate change, political ecology, commodification, neoliberal nature
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since the end of the 2000s new forms of environmental governance have emerged in the southern Mediterranean. Drawing on empirical research on forest management in Morocco over the last decades and recent development projects aiming at integrating mediterranean forests into global carbon trade, I trace these changes on the example of a Moroccan cork oak forest. While this locality has been the site of struggles over state control and commodification at least since the beginning of the 20th century, the way how it is ‘governed’, the human and non-human actors involved, its temporalities and spatialities have shifted over time. Earlier forms of ‘disciplinary’ government, state-control and planning in relation to a linear time of ‘progress’ have been replaced by neoliberal forms of governance, centering on the formation of new, ‘responsable’ subjects. I focus here on the recent shifts in the ‘governance of trees’ that became apparent from 2009 onwards, following the financial and euro crisis and closely related to international climate policy. I show how new forms of a posthuman, ‘experimental’ governance have emerged in forest management, based on complex networks of technologies like GIS-based observations, big data analysis and ecological modelling, as well as specific forms of knowledge production, risk-management and future-making. I finally discuss these developments in relation to processes of financialization and the uneven development of posthuman capitalism.

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