Contributors: Otero, Iago, Dr. (R&D)
Environmental scientist working at the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI-THESys) Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
Scientific paper contribution: The Forest Transition theory under scrutiny. Towards a Degrowth-inspired Land-Change Science
Abstract: As an emerging new paradigm, degrowth is influencing and being influenced by different research fields and theoretical frameworks. In this paper I explore how degrowth may engage with land-change science. I focus on the Forest Transition (FT) framework, one of the main theoretical bodies of land-change science, and use it to illustrate some of the conceptual and empirical weaknesses of this research field. The FT posits a national shift from a shrinking to an expanding forest area led by economic modernization. Based on a critical review I advance that a forest fetishism permeating the research on FT tends to obscure the complexity of land-change processes. I hypothesize that the FT’s assumption that forest recoveries are good per se is to be related to the widespread assumption that growth is the ultimate and inevitable goal of any society. I conclude by exploring how degrowth can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of land-change processes.