Adjunct Professor, Dr. Sarah Hitchner, along with Dr. John Schelhas from the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service, and Distinguished Research Professor, Dr. J. Peter Brosius have a new book, Forests as Fuel: Energy, Landscape, Climate, and Race in the US South, coming January 2022.
"In the US South, wood-based bioenergy schemes are being promoted and implemented through a powerful vision merging social, environmental, and economic benefits for rural, forest-dependent communities. While this dominant narrative has led to heavy investment in experimental technologies and rural development, many complexities and complications have emerged during implementation. Forests as Fuel draws on extensive multi-sited ethnography to ground the story of wood-based bioenergy in the biophysical, economic, political, social, and cultural landscape of this region. This book contextualizes energy issues within the history and potential futures of the region’s forested landscapes, highlighting the impacts of varying perceptions of climate change and complex racial dynamics. Eschewing simple answers, the authors illuminate the points of friction that occur as competing visions of bioenergy development confront each other to variously support, reshape, contest, or reject bioenergy development. Building on recent conceptual advances in studies of sociotechnical imaginaries, environmental history, and energy justice, the authors present a careful and nuanced analysis that can provide guidance for promoting meaningful participation of local community members in renewable energy policy and production while recognizing the complex interplay of factors affecting its implementation in local places."