Mapping Capitalist Expansion, Deforestation and Resistance

This project maps forest cover loss, alongside the forms of political resistance that have obstructed deforestation, during the era of global capitalist expansion from the late 1400s onwards. Focusing in particular on tropical and colonised regions, our research puts archival sources into dialogue with contemporary Indigenous historical accounts and satellite data analysis. We are also developing multidisciplinary partnerships that combine these methods with palaeoecological and archaeological techniques, alongside environmental and social modelling, to assess the relationship between long-term forest cover change and political dynamics. In the first stage of the project, we have evaluated the ways in which Indigenous resistance to colonisation has impeded deforestation in South American tropical rainforest biomes. We are now expanding the field of research to assess related historical patterns in other parts of the world.

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