Gramsci in green: Neoliberal hegemony through urban forestry and the potential for a political ecology of praxis

Publication year: 2011
Source: Geoforum, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

Harold A., Perkins

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources coordinate the distribution of urban forestry grants to nonprofits and citizen groups. These granting agencies increased state funding during a period of neoliberal, fiscal austerity in order to channel ecosystem services provided by urban forests. Increased funding is an instance of rollout neoliberalism whereby the fiscally austere state builds market capacity to harness these services as part of an ecologically modernist agenda. A Gramscian perspective and data gathered from 20 in-depth interviews with foresters are used in this paper to theorize how rollout policy is deployed…

 Highlights: ► Urban forest benefits mobilized as ecosystem services as part of ecological modernist agenda. ► Government grant funding for urban forestry expands civil sector as pedagogical actor. ► Civil sector organizations expand neoliberal, market hegemony. ► Market-based urban forestry is selective and limits capacity of trees to benefit everyone. ► Current urban forestry practice need be replaced by grassroots comprehensive alternatives as part of a political ecology of praxis.