Becoming a Virgin Forest: From Remote Sensing to Erasing Environmental History



The virgin forests of the Southern Carpathian Mountains have attained world heritage status and are part of the EU’s strategy to fight climate change. But their discovery by science and environmental politics was aided by remote sensing and satellite imagery. In the process, these forests had to be reduced to a set of essentialized features, usually referring to age, scarcity, and potential or imminent disappearance. The vast diversity of their ecology and history (both on a deep-time scale and a human scale), has been overlooked at the intersection of scientific expertise and policymaking.

Author Biography

George Iordăchescu, Sheffield University

George Iordăchescu is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the BIOSEC Project at the University of Sheffield. His PhD thesis investigated wilderness production and protection in Eastern Europe. Over the last few years, he has done fieldwork in the Romanian Carpathians and Poland, where he focused on private conservation projects, commons, and forest livelihoods. Currently George researches the impact of EU regulations on timber trade and securitization in the Carpathian Mountains. He aims to understand how a redefinition of illegal logging and timber trade as a security threat has triggered massive citizen involvement in the monitoring and reporting of environmental crimes.