The general meeting of the Australian Forest History Society has adopted a motion to change the name of the AFHS to the New Zealand and Australian Environmental and Forest History Society. This will mark an exciting new stage for environmental and forest history if the new constitution is adopted. The proposed name change will, if enacted, enable us to recruit members who share a common interest in the broader history of the environment, engage with relevant topics as they arise, and reinvigorate and launch the New Zealand and Australian Forest History Society into the twenty-first century.
This change is largely a response to historical events since the founding of the AFHS. In the 1980s, when AFHS was established, forests were the major environmental issue. Forest Wars were headline news, and no-one was talking about global warming. The AFHS was a pioneering Society then, both in Australia and New Zealand, and it was crucial to establishing both forest history and environmental history in both countries. Today, forests retain great importance in environmental discussions, but popular and scholarly discussions of nature are increasingly focused on climate, non-forest land-use, and the relationship between the economy and nature. Considering the AFHS’s role in fostering some of the pioneering environmental histories, it is a natural extension of the society to recognize the contribution of environmental historians to forest history by adding the title ‘Environment’. We are also recognizing the substantial contribution of New Zealanders and the geographic presence of New Zealand by adding ‘New Zealand’ to the Society’s name.
This will give members of the Environmental History Network a full-service society with conferences, published proceedings, newsletters and publication outlets on the subject of environmental history. Comments and expressions of interest are welcome. Contact Gregory Barton at email@example.com
To join the society, please visit our webpage at http://www.foresthistory.org.au/ and click on the “joining us” tab.
- Gregory Barton, President, The Australian Forest History Society