From Ecological Grief to Gelassenheit: Rhetorics of Sentiment and Science in Hemlock

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This article presents a reading of Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge, a 2014 collection of essays authored by Harvard Forest ecologists that addresses the ongoing destruction of the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Introduced to the eastern U.S. in the early 1950s, the hemlock woolly adelgid has been slowly but surely decimating the eastern hemlock across most of its native range. Hemlock offers an account of the species’ history of decline and recovery as well as of the Harvard Forest researchers’ relationship with this foundational species. Locating within Hemlock a rhetoric of sentiment and science, this essay considers the authors’ embrace of ecological grief and then demonstrates how they deploy historical and long-term ecological research to channel that grief into some actions rather than others. Thus, this essay unearths how sentiment and science merge and diverge in discourses concerning ecological loss and transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-797
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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