This article addresses questions of method, focus and research strategy in environmental history and political economy for policy analysis and policy-making. While most environmental history is seen as having to do with landscapes past and how they got that way, environmental history can also have practical contemporary applications. By coming to understand the sources and origins of environmental degradation, and the patterns of social organization that led to them, we may be better positioned to foster environmental protection and conservation in ways that may resolve and/or support local efforts around the world. Such studies can help to address conflicts that arise over conservation policies, especially when these studies illuminate the origins and historical trajectories of places, and provide insights into ways of working with, rather than against, local cultures, knowledges, and social arrangements.

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