"Physicians of the forest": A rhetorical critique of the Bush Healthy Forest Initiative

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Abstract

This article explores national debate over federal fire policy that emerged during the 2002 fire season in the United States and the ensuing shift in ideology that culminated in the Bush Administration's Healthy Forest Initiative. Several dimensions of the wild fire debate prompt the attention of environmental scholars in multiple disciplines. At one level the debate focuses upon rhetorical efforts to redefine the legitimate stakeholders responsible for formulating and implementing federal policy. At a deeper level, the debate highlights the way in which humans define wilderness, apply science, and position them within nature itself. The Healthy Forest Initiative represents a significant change in national forest management, logging, and fire suppression policies and offers a compelling case study of environmental rhetoric and its role in public policy debates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalElectronic Green Journal
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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