'Green gold': the invention of the forest landscape in Wallmapu/Araucania, southern Chile

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Autor:
Escalona Ulloa, Miguel - Barton, Jonathan R.
URI:
http://repositoriodigital.uct.cl/handle/10925/3034
Datos de publicación:
BOLETIN DE LA ASOCIACION DE GEOGRAFOS ESPANOLES,Vol.,,2021
Temas:
historical political ecology - landscape - historical geography - political geography
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Resumen:
Since the incorporation of the Wallmapu/Araucania territory into the Republic of Chile, important transformations in this territory have been taken place. Once the land was usurped from the Mapuche people, fertile valleys and dense forests were replaced by wheat cultivation until the early twentieth century. This article explores the 'invention' of so-called 'Green Gold' forest landscape in this region, using historical political ecology and a 'landscapes of power' framework. Based on the analysis and interpretation of historical sources, including cartography, photography and texts, we reconstruct the historical trajectory of this landscape, emphasizing the role of science, the enactment of laws, the creation of new institutions and the influence of international organizations. These influences paved the way for large forestry firms to emerge, primarily under dictatorship (1973-1989), which in turn generated an unprecedented plantation forestry 'boom' that transformed the regional landscape. The conclusions highlight the importance of shifting from a neutral concept of territorial attributes to the invention of landscapes, as a social construction based on power relations that lead to domination and exclusion.

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