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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.