In La Frontera, Thomas Miller Klubock offers a pioneering social and environmental history of southern Chile, exploring the origins of today's forestry "miracle" in Chile. Although, Chile's forestry boom is often attributed to the free-market policies of the Pinochet dictatorship, La Frontera shows that forestry development began in the early twentieth century when Chilean governments turned to forestry science and plantations of the North American Monterey pine to establish their governance of the frontier's natural and social worlds. Klubock demonstrates that modern conservationist policies and scientific forestry drove the enclosure of frontier commons occupied by indigenous and non-indigenous peasants who were defined as a threat to both native forests and tree plantations.
La Frontera narrates the century-long struggles among peasants, indigenous communities, large landowners, and the state over access to forest commons in the frontier territory. It traces the shifting social meanings of environmentalism by showing how during the 1990s, rural laborers and Mapuches, once vilified by conservationist ideology, drew on the language of modern environmentalism to critique the social dislocations produced by Chile's much vaunted neoliberal economic model, linking a more just social order to the biodiversity of native forests.
"La Frontera is a unique resource, based on outstanding empirical research. It is the first work that I know of to connect state-building in Chile with the settlement of the country's southern provinces. Thomas Miller Klubock provides a fluid chronological analysis of the social, cultural, and environmental consequences of more than 150 years of different public policies, capturing the complexity of diverse constituencies' demands on forests, water, and other natural resources."
– Brian Loveman, author of Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism
"La Frontera makes central contributions to Chilean historiography and to scholarship on environmentalism, labor history, and agrarian reform. By putting the forest and the evolving environmental crisis in broad historical perspective, Thomas Miller Klubock shows how deeply and fully environmental degradation was a part of the opening up the frontier. His combination of environmental history with social and revisionist political history is path breaking."
– Florencia E. Mallon, editor of Decolonizing Native Histories: Collaboration, Knowledge, and Language in the Americas
1. Landed Property and State Sovereignty on the Frontier 29
2. Natural Disorder: Ecological Crisis, the State, and the Origins of Modern Forestry 58
3. Forest Commons and Peasant Protest on the Frontier, 1920s and 1930s 90
4. Changing Landscapes: Tree Plantations, Forestry, and State-Directed Development after 1930 118
5. Peasants, Forestry, and the Politics of Social Reform on the Frontier, 1930s–1950s 145
6. Agrarian Reform and State-Directed Forestry Development, 1950s and 1960s 176
7. Agrarian Reform Arrives in the Forests 208
8. Dictatorship and Free-Market Forestry 239
9. Democracy, Environmentalism, and the Mapuche Challenge to Forestry Development 268
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Thomas Miller Klubock is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Contested Communities: Class, Gender, and Politics in Chile's El Teniente Copper Mine, 1904-1951, and a coeditor of The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics, both also published by Duke University Press.