Where Forest Carbon Meets Its Maker: Forestry-Based Offsetting as the Subsumption of Nature

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The “subsumption of nature” framework focuses on productivity increases and extractive innovations in nature-based industries. In this article, we argue that it can also be employed beyond that context in order to capture the convoluted dynamics of market environmentalism. To substantiate our argument, we draw on recent fieldwork on “Trees for Global Benefits,” a forestry-based offsetting project in western Uganda. Like industrial tree plantations, this project relies on the subsumption of carbon sequestration to market imperatives in order to guarantee the quality of its carbon credits. The ecological and socioeconomic difficulties this process engenders give rise to unintended consequences and set in motion the disciplining of the carbon offset producers themselves. The application of the subsumption framework to nonindustrial sectors in this way calls attention to the interlinked socioecological dynamics involved in the subsumption of nature, and highlights potential synergies with previous work on the subsumption of labor.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)829-843
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 23
Publication categoryResearch