Masculinities in Forests : Representations of Diversity book cover
1st Edition

Masculinities in Forests
Representations of Diversity

ISBN 9780367417000
Published September 21, 2020 by Routledge
266 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Masculinities in Forests: Representations of Diversity demonstrates the wide variability in ideas about, and practice of, masculinity in different forests, and how these relate to forest management.

While forestry is widely considered a masculine domain, a significant portion of the literature on gender and development focuses on the role of women, not men. This book addresses this gap and also highlights how there are significant, demonstrable differences in masculinities from forest to forest. The book develops a simple conceptual framework for considering masculinities, one which both acknowledges the stability or enduring quality of masculinities, but also the significant masculinity-related options available to individual men within any given culture. The author draws on her own experiences, building on her long-term experience working globally in the conservation and development worlds, also observing masculinities among such professionals. The core of the book examines masculinities, based on long-term ethnographic research in the rural Pacific Northwest of the US; Long Segar, East Kalimantan; and Sitiung, West Sumatra, both in Indonesia. The author concludes by pulling together the various strands of masculine identities and discussing the implications of these various versions of masculinity for forest management.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of forestry, gender studies and conservation and development, as well as practitioners and NGOs working in these fields.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures and Boxes
List of Contributors

1. Masculinities in Forests: Here and There, Then and Now

2. [Remembered] American Masculinities from my Girlhood (1940s-1970s)

3. Immersion in Rural America: The Case of Bushler Bay

4. Masculinities and Muted Gender in Bali and Kalimantan

5. Masculinities in Conflict in West Sumatra

6. Masculinities Among the ‘Development Set’

7. Revisits to Old Haunts (with Andrew Balan Pierce and Sufiet Erlita)

8. The Relevance of Masculinities for Forests and Their Management


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Carol J. Pierce Colfer is a Senior Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Visiting Scholar at Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program, Ithaca, New York, USA. She is author/editor of numerous books, including co-editor of The Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests (Routledge, 2017) and Gender and Forests: Climate Change, Tenure, Value Change and Emerging Issues (Routledge, 2016).


"I first met Carol on the Kribi beach an evening of 1997 and recall the discussion about the role and accountability of logging companies in prostitution in camps. I thought they had none. She disagreed. I have changed my mind since, thanks to many female colleagues and especially Carol. She made me a better man I believe. I enjoyed reading this book and tried to look at my own harp before and after. I hope you will like it. A must-read, especially if you are a proud male forester (like me)." — Robert Nasi, Director General, Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

"Carol Colfer shows us how masculinities affects us all in a deep, critical and personal reflection that exposes the unconscious assumptions about the distribution of powers and privileges, and appropriate roles, relations and identities of men and women in environment and development contexts around the world. By her example, Colfer challenges her readers to re-examine deeply-held beliefs that are both personal and political."Maureen G. Reed, Distinguished Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan

"It is a rare and precious thing for a reader to be able to learn from the rich insights garnered in over a long career as a professional anthropologist working in some of the world’s most important forest landscapes. This important book on masculinities and their relatedness with forests is a gift: a timely reminder that making sense of gender in this way is a crucial step in understanding questions of equity in forest livelihoods and professional lives. Carol Colfer offers a deeply reflexive ethnographic discussion based on her experiences and encounters in rural North America and in Indonesia, in the field and amidst the ‘development set’. Her discussion covers a critical period in the making of both gender relations and forest management – from the 1970s onwards – and she shows the diverse ways masculinities are being lived relationally with forests across turbulent times. There are important points to draw from this book, not least the need to undo generalisations and situate both forests and masculinities in time and place. The author brings her insights back to bear on forest management strategies with practical ways for reflecting on and improving ways of working and living with forests that are tuned in to the various registers of masculinity which could themselves become better attuned to ensuring a healthy planetary future."Rebecca Elmhirst, Human Geographer, University of Brighton

"Masterful scholarship with a purpose... this book has wide-ranging relevance across many fields, non-anthropologists not only may have something useful to say about it but also need to read it for their own benefit. Bravo for a brave and timely work!"Michael S. Cummings, Professor (retired), Political Science, University of Colorado, Denver 

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Open Access content has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CCBY-NC-ND) license

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