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Forskningsartikel2023Vetenskapligt granskad

An exotic tree in a foreign country: A cultural biography of the Lodgepole pine in Sweden

Mårland, Erland; Jönsson, Jimmy; Kardell, Örjan; Sjögren, Jörgen; Tunlid, Anna


The movement of plants, animals, and microorganisms by humans, consciously or unconsciously, has changed both ecosystems and societies throughout history. This article focuses on one such transformative species, lodgepole pine, and its relocation from northwestern America to northern Sweden in the mid-twentieth century. A cultural biography of the lodgepole pine’s existence in Sweden examines how this tree has been linked to different value regimes, which creates a historical pattern. Through so-called ‘thinning processes’, powerful actors, in both production forestry and the environmental movement, have tried to reduce the importance of the species to a limited meaning and context. At the same time, more arguments, knowledge and changed contexts have made the lodgepole pine a ‘thick thing’, with superimposed values and meanings. Although the tree has moved far geographically, from one continent to another, its importance has continued to be framed by interacting international, national and local perspectives. The lodgepole pine, however, is not just an inert thing that is determined by cultural discourses. It is a living tree, with its own ability to act and whose life in a foreign land has created a dynamic that crosses the border between nature and culture.


Lodgepole pine; alien species; cultural biography of things; environmental history; biodiversity

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Environment and History

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