Keith PluymersSep 3, 2021
No Wood, No Kingdom
Political Ecology in the English Atlantic
University of Pennsylvania Press 2021
Pushing back against the traditional narratives assuming that the American colonies served as resource “windfalls” which released Europe from the constraints of dwindling resources, No Wood, No Kingdom: Political Ecology in the English Atlantic (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021) investigates the political ecology of wood in the English Atlantic through the lens of scarcity. While wood scarcity was a widespread concern, Pluymer demonstrates the complexity of resource management by showing the political ecology driving wood use in England compared with the colonial experiences in Ireland, Virginia, and Barbados. Wood scarcity was not a fundamental issue of supply and demand but a result of social frictions leading to questions such as what separates justifiable exploitation from waste? And who should reap the benefits of wood? Whether it is the common people, the state, manufacturers, or merchants, No Wood No Kingdom reveals that the competing interests rooted in trade, forestry, and landscape determine diverging answers.