a forest conscienceness

Proceedings 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society Inc.


Calver, M.

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Writing in 1920, western Australia's conservator of forests Charles E. Lane Poole looked forward to a time when people would develop a forest conscienceness to ensure that forests were managed for the benefit of whole communities and not only for select interest groups. The unusual word conscienceness has echoes of both awareness and responsibility, which were clearly parts of his vision. Eighty years later community interest in the many values of forests and in forest management policy has heightened throughout the world and it is appropriate to ask if Lane Poole's vision has been fulfilled.

This book of abstracts and its accompanying CD-ROM of full papers considers the question by integrating over 50 contributions from natural scientists, social scientists, foresters and community organizations in evaluating what forest conscienceness means to forest managers and the diverse communities they represent at the beginning of the 21st century. Although the focus is predominantly Australian, contrasting international perspectives from New Zealand, south-east Asia, South Africa and both North and South America illustrate the universality of many of the issues. The broad themes covered include different perspectives on what forest conscienceness means to individuals and communities today, resolving conflicts over forest use, forest ecosystem health (including the capacity of forests to sustain healthy human communities), sustainable forest management and reconstructing forests of the past. The themes are complemented by a series of special topic papers highlighting illustrative examples from forest history. The publication is an important reference for all those interested in the history of forests and their management and the application of interdisciplinary approaches to the challenges faced in achieving forest conscienceness today.