Forestry Management in Cuba: An Environmental History of the 20th Century
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Environmental history explores the relationships and interactions that humans have –and have had- with the environment. These relationships and interactions were researched in the context of the ecological history of forestry use and management in Cuba during the 20th century. The shifting political dynamics strongly influenced and continues to influence the environmental management of the country’s natural resources. Political eras of 20th century Cuba and environmental management are associated. Environmental history is a relatively new sub-discipline with a strong fundamental basis in political ecology. The research examined the conditions of Cuba’s forest ecosystems over three political eras; first, the Neo-colonial era characterized by the influence of the United States (1898-1959), followed by the Revolutionary era influenced by close relations to the Soviet Union communist regime (1959-1989), and the Special Period which is the current political era of Cuba. Comparisons and contrasts were made regarding the environmental conditions present during each political era. Research relied exclusively on historical documents including written sources, photographs, and recorded instrumental observations. Policies and legislation were reviewed for this study to act as an indicator of the importance of forestry within Cuba. The study was conducted to gain a further understanding of environmental changes in relationship to political and social shifts that occurred in Cuba during the 20th century.