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Enlightenment's FrontierThe Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism$
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Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300162547

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300162547.001.0001

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Larch Autarky

Larch Autarky

(p.147) 6 Larch Autarky
Enlightenment's Frontier

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses a scheme that involved the planting of several million seedlings of larch, which was intended to secure the naval timber supply of the Perthshire Highlands, and of the whole of Scotland, into the distant future. The scheme, which proposed by the fourth duke John Murray, highlights the centrality of forestry to the politics of the natural order in the Scottish Enlightenment, and combined natural expertise and private capital with the priorities of national self-sufficiency in the spirit of civil cameralism. A rival Scottish strategy, however, impeded the duke's efforts; Henry Dundas, now Lord Melville, commissioned a global survey to identify accessible stands of naval timbers. A closer look at these strategies reveals that they both relied on naturalist expertise to solve a national crisis of resource exhaustion by setting up a timber reserve, and were merely variations on a common theme.

Keywords:   naval timber supply, Perthshire Highlands, larch scheme, John Murray, forestry, Scottish Enlightenment, natural expertise, private capital, national self-sufficiency, civil cameralism

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