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Environment and History

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Environment and History

A Sudden Fancy for Tree-Planting? Forest Conservation and the Demise of New Zealand's Provinces

André Brett

Environment and History 23 (2017): 123-145. doi: 10.3197/096734017X14809635325719

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New Zealand provides a valuable case study of the relationship between colonial statecraft and forest conservation. This article explores the connections between Premier Julius Vogel’s Forests Act of 1874 and the abolition of New Zealand’s provinces in 1876, locating conservation within the broader context of popular discontent with provincialism. It argues that previous perspectives have either downplayed or exaggerated the significance of conservation to provincial abolition, and that the relationship between the two was complex and uneven. Abolition profoundly affected conservation, but the stimulus for abolition had been gathering elsewhere even as conservation shaped its timing.

KEYWORDS: Forest conservation, forest policy, New Zealand provinces, Julius Vogel, colonialism

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