Plantations and Protected Areas

From History for a Sustainable Future

Plantations and Protected Areas

A Global History of Forest Management

By Brett M. Bennett

How global forest management shifted from an integrated conservation model to a bifurcated system of timber plantations and protected areas.





How global forest management shifted from an integrated conservation model to a bifurcated system of timber plantations and protected areas.

Today, the world's forests are threatened by global warming, growing demand for wood products, and increasing pressure to clear tropical forests for agricultural use. Economic globalization has enabled Western corporations to export timber processing jobs and import cheap wood products from developing countries. Timber plantations of exotic, fast-growing species supply an ever-larger amount of the world's wood. In response, many countries have established forest areas protected from development. In this book, Brett Bennett views today's forestry issues from a historical perspective. The separation of wood production from the protection of forests, he shows, stems from entangled environmental, social, political, and economic factors. This divergence—driven by the concomitant intensification of production and creation of vast protected areas—is reshaping forest management systems both public and private.

Bennett shows that plantations and protected areas evolved from, and then undermined, an earlier integrated forest management system that sought both to produce timber and to conserve the environment. He describes the development of the science and profession of forestry in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe; discusses the twentieth-century creation of timber plantations in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia; and examines the controversies over deforestation that led to the establishment of protected areas. Bennett argues that the problems associated with the bifurcation of forest management—including the loss of forestry knowledge necessary to manage large ecosystems for diverse purposes—suggest that a more integrated model would be preferable.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262029933 216 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 15 figures


  • The book is very timely, and will hopefully spark or feed a debate that needs to take place about balancing demands for timber and the desire for conservation of forest on a global scale. At the moment, developed countries are not only exporting forestry jobs but they are also exporting environmental damage, and that to countries with weaker government and environmental protection. I strongly recommend the book to foresters with a broad interest in the profession and those interested in forest policy.

    International Forestry Review

  • ...the book draws from a wide range of global examples, disentangling the decisions shaping current policies and challenges that faces forestry today.


  • It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on global forest history and, given its cost, accessibility, and conciseness, holds much promise as a teaching resource.

    Agricultural History

  • Plantations and Protected Areas is a prime example of global history done well.

    Environmental History


  • Brett Bennett has produced an important and thoughtful book on the history of global forestry practices, from production to conservation, and the challenges and new opportunities that lie ahead in this critical area that impacts so many human endeavors, both directly and indirectly.

    Harold Mooney

    Professor of Biology, Emeritus, Stanford University

  • Brett Bennett's elegantly written history of forest management draws principally from the colonial and postcolonial history of the new world to draw conclusions that have broader relevance and illuminate many of the challenges that societies still face in shaping the future of forests. It is both a timely and welcome addition to the global forest history literature.

    Peter Kanowski

    Professor of Forestry, Australian National University