Accepted paper:

Planning, planting and posters: contested forest restructuring and the role of visualisations in Loch Arklet

Authors:

Jennifer Clarke (Robert Gordon University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will present some aspects of a contestation around a significant restructuring plan for a forest 'habitat network', and the campaign against it, to ‘save the view'. It will illustrate contrasting ways of understanding a forest landscape's 'value' through visualisations, asking: to what extent do ways of seeing work to constitute and shape a place?

Paper long abstract:

This paper will present some aspects of a contestation around a significant restructuring plan for a forest 'habitat network', and the campaign against it, to 'save the view'. It will illustrate contrasting ways of understanding a forest landscape's 'value' asking: to what extent do ways of seeing work to constitute and shape a place? It will focus on divergent intentions for and appropriations of visualisations of the landscape for 100 years from now, proposed and projected by the land managers (a government body) and resisted and rejected by the local community. The visualisations were used simultaneously to attempt to persuade of the value of change, and to persuade to preserve and maintain the status quo, in competing claims across heritage, biodiversity and aesthetics, crossing environmental and economic value. These visualisations raise questions about knowledge practices. Stakeholders were expected to 'receive' the plans as scientifically valid but challenged them as being 'weak' scientifically and in terms of landscape 'value'. This paper suggests that landscape visualisations can be recast as events, part of a longer process, understood in terms of mutual constitution of people and landscape. Foresters have a certain way of understanding change and value that is constituted by what they do; the ordinary people who challenged it have a different way of seeing grounded in their own activities. The visuals were ambivalent because both groups managed to see their particular forests in them, imbued with different ideas of planning and change.

panel P17
"By leaves we live": the vital politics and poetics of the tree