Volume 9, Issue 1, Spring 2012
Pining for the Present
Ecological Remembrance and Healing in the Armidale State Forest
The Armidale State Forest is a pine plantation at the edge of the Armidale city in New South Wales, Australia. In 2000 and 2007 large parts of the forest were destroyed in clear-felling operations. This sparked community outrage which led to the formation of advocacy groups who have begun to restore the forest despite its controversial position as a “conifer invader” in Eucalypt country. In this paper I focus on the way personal memories are embodied in the pine forms to challenge the native/invasive divide in Australian conservation discourse. I argue that the destruction of this devalued ecology caused a traumatic rupture to the Armidale communities’ connection to a forest which preserves their pasts. To heal this environmental and psychological damage, I propose a recuperative approach termed “ecological remembrance” that strives to repair severed connections between people and place.