The emphasis in this study is forestry in the British Empire. This choice stems from the fact that British colonial forestry was arguably one of the most extensive imperial frameworks of scientific natural resource management anywhere, and continues to be a key locus of environmental conflicts across Asia and Africa. This introductory chapter sets the context for the argument to follow. It begins by critically discussing what is involved in focusing on science and technology in doing environmental history. It then locates the historiography of British colonial forestry within the context of this analysis, thereby laying the groundwork for the ensuing chapters.
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