Ecology and Rehabilitation The west Highland Survey, 1944–1955

Toogood, Mark orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2403-0338 (2017) Ecology and Rehabilitation The west Highland Survey, 1944–1955. In: Spatializing the History of Ecology: Sites, Journeys, Mappings. Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (29). Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), New York, pp. 99-118. ISBN 978-1-138-72703-8

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Mark Toogood highlights the spatial dynamics of the west Highland Survey, conducted by British ecologist Frank Fraser Darling between 1944 and 1955. The Survey advanced a comprehensive understanding of ecology, recording population, land use, soils, vegetation, and environmental history. In the process, the Highlands were constructed as a region of degradation in which population decline was explicitly linked to a story of environmental misuse. Darling appraised the Highlands as ecologically and historically a “devastated terrain,” and identfiied deforestation and overgrazing as responsible for the space’s decline. The Survey, then, was presented as a basis for a new polity, and Darling optimistically looked to nascent state institutions of ecology and planning in Britain to lead the way to support alternative land uses. All of this was not without political consequences. The chapter discusses the Survey, as an infrastructure for fieldwork, as a politically resonant project, and as the centerpiece of a spatio-epistemic process that reshaped the region.

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