Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation

Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation

by Rosetta S. Elkin
Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation

Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation

by Rosetta S. Elkin


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, April 18
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


How afforestation reveals the often-concealed politics between humans and plants

In Plant Life, Rosetta S. Elkin explores the procedures of afforestation, the large-scale planting of trees in otherwise treeless environments, including grasslands, prairies, and drylands. Elkin reveals that planting a tree can either be one of the ultimate offerings to thriving on this planet, or one of the most extreme perversions of human agency over it. 

Using three supracontinental case studies—scientific forestry in the American prairies, colonial control in Africa’s Sahelian grasslands, and Chinese efforts to control and administer territory—Elkin explores the political implications of plant life as a tool of environmentalism. By exposing the human tendency to fix or solve environmental matters by exploiting other organisms, this work exposes the relationship between human and plant life, revealing that afforestation is not an ecological act: rather, it is deliberately political and distressingly social. 

Plant Life ultimately reveals that afforestation cannot offset deforestation, an important distinction that sheds light on current environmental trends that suggest we can plant our way out of climate change. By radicalizing what conservation protects and by framing plants in their total aliveness, Elkin shows that there are many kinds of life—not just our own—to consider when advancing environmental policy. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517912628
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 05/31/2022
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Rosetta S. Elkin is associate professor and academic director of landscape architecture at Pratt Institute, principal of Practice Landscape, and research associate at the Harvard Arnold Arboretum. She is author of Tiny Taxonomy: Individual Plants in Landscape Architecture.

Table of Contents






1. The Problem of Parts

2. Great Green Wall

3. Genus Faidherbia


4. Confronting Treelessness

5. Prairie States Forestry Project

6. Ulmus pumilaL.


7. Contextual Indifference

8. Three Norths Shelter System

9. Species Populus




From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews