Womens history: Forestry reevaluated

Usually we think about big, strong men cutting down huge trees when talking about forestry in the past. But the truth is a little bit different and now a swedish researcher want to make women visible – they have had part in forestry for a long time.

Women have been part of forestry in different ways for a long time, but they didn’t gain any attention and still don’t. There is a risk that they will remain invisible if no one changes it.

– The women studying here at the forest faculty at SLU (Swedish Agricultural University) sees a lot of men, both historically and today, in forestry. But a lot of women have been working actively in the forest during the period up to 1950, says the SLU researcher and professor in forestry history Lars Östlund to Skogen.se.

Now he wants to give a fair picture of forestry and let women be inspired by and identify with other, historical women.

Women have been working as foresters themselves, and they also were a prerequisite for developement by running the farm while the men worked in the forest. Women also worked with cooking and took care of the economy in the foresters cottages.

– We are working with interviews with the chefs who are today 80-90 years old and still remember and can tell their story. There are also documents as diaries, financial accounts, courseware and photos, says Lars Östlund to Skogen.se.

The name of the project is The forgotten heroes of forestry and it will remain net year. It will end with an exhibition, reports written with the interviews as base and maybe there will be time to get everything together in a book.

– As a researcher it is my duty to give a more balanced and correct description of the historiography, says Lars Östlund to Skogen.se.