Just over a century ago, Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) trees in Europe were confined to a handful of botanical gardens; today, they cover more than 800,000 hectares of European soil, making them the second most common non-native tree species on the continent. Large-scale diffusion of this North American species across Europe began in the late 1910s and early 1920s, carrying enormous implications not only for European ecosystems but also for the continent’s political economy and environmental practices. This happened by design, not chance; behind this massive ecological transformation was an American-led plan to exert new forms of influence over the Old World. SRSAI aims to test the hypothesis that the mass transfer of Douglas fir seeds from the U.S. to Europe carried social, political, cultural, economic, and ecological implications for the restructuring of the world order in the early twentieth century. The Great War disrupted Europe’s wood supplies. Americans stepped in to replenish the continent’s forests, reshaping local landscapes and political economies in a way that advanced a U.S.-centric agenda. Importantly, SRSAI brings together histories of international relations and the environment to reveal new insights for both by connecting war, transatlantic exchange, forestry, and the rise of the U.S. as a global power.
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