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2023 | Book

Forest Politics from Below

Social Movements, Indigenous Communities, Forest Occupations and Eco-Solidarism

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About this book

This book presents an analysis of forest politics that employs a broader scope to include non-institutionalized actors. It offers a comparative perspective on various environmental social movements fighting to protect forests around the globe, including indigenous communities in the Amazon and eco-anarchists in Europe. By examining the political goals, motives, and tactics of these sometimes-radical environmentalists, it helps readers understand the commonalities and differences among these “grass-roots forest politicians.” In addition, the book highlights the importance of forest-related struggles for a just transition to a carbon-neutral future. Accordingly, it will appeal to scholars of political science, public policy, and political sociology, as well as anyone interested in social movements and forest conservation.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter
Chapter 1. Introduction
Abstract
This book introduces the concepts of “forest politics from below” and “Eco-Solidarism” to the social movement, forest policy, and environmental literatures by describing and analyzing environmental social movements fighting to protect forests. In Europe, the Americas, and Australasia, social movements, indigenous communities, and citizens’ initiatives fight against the deforestation of old-growth forests and for access to local forests. These actors are motivated by different policy goals and ideological backgrounds but their struggles for forest conservation unite them. By focusing on their policy goals, ideologies, religious belief systems, and tactics, especially the practice of forest occupations, we will understand the commonalities and differences of these “forest politicians from below.” While public perceptions of social movements using radical environmental tactics such as forest occupations are characterized by ambivalence and hostility, as their forms of action transcend the frameworks of legal action, these movements show how less powerful actors can use symbolic and prefigurative politics to challenge powerful actors.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 2. Forest Politics from Below and the Struggles Against Destruction Through Extraction
Abstract
The concept of “forest politics from below” is an additional perspective to understand the strategies of forest-dependent Indigenous communities and social movements, their ideologies and power-related discourses within forest and environmental politics. Within forest policy analysis the concept of community forestry is an established concept for analyzing the involvement of local actors into forest management politics. Nevertheless, non-institutionalized forms of pressure politics are not in the focus of political analysts. Due to a transregional perspective and a focus on actors’ ideological backgrounds, religious beliefs, and tactics, I can add some new insights into forest policy analysis. Until now, the central actors of forest politics from below, such as forest-dependent Indigenous communities, forest-dependent inhabitants of rural areas and the urban social movement entrepreneurs acting in favor of forest protection, are mostly unknown and not systematically analyzed concerning their ideologies, politics of emotions, policy preferences, social backgrounds, and religious belief systems. I will fill this gap and show why these actors engage in forest politics from below.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 3. Social Movements in and for the Forests
Abstract
Social movements fighting for forest conservation are driven by different ideological backgrounds, preferences, and religious belief systems. The social movement literature does provide a multitude of case studies on social movements protesting against deforestation and land use changes. In this chapter, I will summarize the state of research on social movement theories and on empirical evidence concerning forest-related social movements. I will especially focus on the broad literature on social movement tactics because “forest politics from below” is a concept for describing the action repertoires of less powerful actors and their tactics. Forest-related social movements aim at the mobilization of anger because of the experience of people who lost their intact home environments. Therefore, I will show the importance of “emotional warfare” to forest-related social movements.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 4. Eco-Solidarism
Abstract
The concept of Eco-Solidarism is not spelled out by political actors but is an implicit and theoretical system of policy goals, action preferences, anti-speciesist ideas, and global justice theories. Therefore, I will outline the concept and the method of extracting it from the materials published by forest-dependent indigenous communities, environmental NGOs, and forest-related social movements. The concept of Eco-Solidarism contains a global justice theory, preferences for subsidiarity and direct actions against eco-destruction, exploitation, deforestation and land degradation as well as a developed system of anti-speciesist ideas. Besides, the concept of Eco-Solidarism contains commitments to a sustainable lifestyle that aims at facilitating a planetary human-non-human coexistence. Additionally, Eco-Solidarism aims at the restoration and regeneration of degraded ecosystems and the creation of a symbiotic perspective toward human-non-human interactions.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 5. Methods for the Analysis of Social Movements in and for the Forests
Abstract
In this chapter, I will outline the methods for case selection, data collection and data analysis. The data basis of the study is a newspaper analysis to identify forest protection protests across the world, a content analysis of manifestos, social media communications, videos and pictures published by forest politicians from below concerning their protests. The content analysis builds on ex ante developed categories and evaluates the focus documents concerning the interesting dimensions. Additionally, I draw on a few interviews with forest protection activists from Romania and Germany.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 6. Forest Politics from Below in Europe
Abstract
In Austria, Germany, France, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and Switzerland social movements and citizen initiatives engage, motivated by environmental grief, against the deforestation of local forests and for the conservation of valuable ecosystems. The ideologies, politics of emotions, policy preferences, and tactics of forest-related social movements in these countries will be outlined. I will furthermore analyze whether and how these movements refer to Eco-Solidarism or global climate justice.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 7. Forest Politics from below in the Americas
Abstract
The analysis of forest politics from below in the Americas has to focus on Amazonian communities’ fights against deforestation. For years, Amazonian communities in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru mobilize publics, demonstrate against agriculture, oil and mining industries, occupy privatized forest lands, lobby governmental institutions and cooperate with foreign NGOs to protect the local Amazonian forest and to secure access to their homeland. Besides focusing on the Amazonian forests, I will describe the coalitions fighting the eco-destruction politics in Canada and the United States of America consisting of eco-anarchist movements, urbanist environmentalists, an eco-spiritual youth, and the Native American communities.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 8. Forest Politics from below in Australasia
Abstract
Along with Latin America, Australasia is the world’s region with the highest annual deforestation rates. Against this background, Indigenous communities, peasants, and environmentalists in Indonesia aim at protecting forests to secure their access to forests for their livelihoods. Besides local communities, international NGOs fight alongside the less powerful actors against deforestation in. Additionally, I will present the anti-logging protests in Australia and their justification frames for resisting the logging operations within New South Wales and Victoria.
Ricardo Kaufer
Chapter 9. Conclusion
Abstract
Deforestation, environmental degradation, and climate change are the root causes of environmental grief to people. Social movements, citizen’s initiatives, and Indigenous communities aim at transforming grief into anger and the willingness to fight deforestation and land degradation. Within the processes of protesting against powerful actors and the destruction of forests the mobilization of alternative and eco-solidaristic feelings and belief systems is central to actors engaging in forest politics from below. The book outlines the “diversity in unity” of actors engaging in forest politics from below and fighting deforestation by describing and analyzing their ideologies, politics of emotions, and action repertoires.
Ricardo Kaufer
Backmatter
Metadata
Title
Forest Politics from Below
Author
Ricardo Kaufer
Copyright Year
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-18965-4
Print ISBN
978-3-031-18964-7
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-18965-4