Seeing the Forest for Its Trees: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Appalachian Forests

Covering 83 million acres of the mountain landscape, Appalachia’s forests are some of the most
diverse temperate ecosystems in the world. Often popularly depicted as either isolated mountain
environments or desolate post-industrial landscapes, the webs of meaning and economic activity at
work in forest environments can be as diverse as the constituent biological communities. From forest
commons to large-scale extractive industry, the widespread social impacts of managing, exploiting,
stewarding, and protecting forest resources have been contested domains throughout the region’s
history. Current conversations on the possibilities of future post-coal economies and the social impacts
of forest ecologies and climate change demand a focus on Appalachian forests as multivalent sites and
key actors in the region’s political ecologies. Through diverse disciplinary perspectives, this panel seeks
to place Appalachian forests in the networks of meaning and political economic action in which they are
enmeshed and build towards a more holistic understanding of Appalachian lifeworlds in forest


We welcome paper submissions from a wide array of disciplinary perspectives (e.g. social
sciences, humanities, environmental sciences and forestry) that critically examine the social and
environmental entanglement in Appalachian forests. Papers may consider topics such as (though not
limited to) changing property regimes and rights, the social impacts of climate change and
environmental degradation, multivalent understandings of forest resources, uncertain futures of
extractive economies, eco-tourism, cultural heritage entrenched in forest landscapes, experiences of
forest environments, forests as sites of labor and production, bio-diversity and human activity, and land
reclamation and reforestation.


Please send your submission to Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth (Department of Anthropology, University of
Kentucky) at by November 17th, 2017.


 Picture: Appalachian Cove Forest (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)


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