Weathering Global Futures


Weathering Global Futures
Adrian Iuakhiu
Weathering Global Futures:
Ecology, Economy, and the
Unruly Tropics of the "Global"
Weather Worse Than It Used To Be: Scientists
Star (front-page headline, 8 May 1998)
A hard rain's a-gonnafall
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows
A viewer of Canadian television in late 1998 could have justifiably blinked at the irony in
seeing dozens of smiling children marching happily through sunny, globally warming,
green fields under ozone-depleted skies, singing Bob Dylan's 1960s anthem "The times
they are a-changin." They sang the weatherman's tune, with the words slightly altered,
beneath the advertised glare of a sun called MBanx, the renamed and remodelled Bank of
MontrCal. As political and economic leaders gathered in Kyoto that December to discuss
what to d o about global climate change, the real revolution--one of banking systems and
high finance-was being televised.
The hard rain Dylan promised us fell, and the times most certainly changed. As MBanx
showed us, the cultural revolution of the 1960s has been readily co-opted into the self-celebratory global language of transnational consumer capitalism. Meanwhile, other kinds of
signs and symbols that have arisen over the same time period-associated with the environment (whole-earth satellite images, global warming, El Niiio, planetary summits at Rio and
Kyoto); the economy (currency crises and looming stock market crashes, international
meetings to iron out the "ground rules" and respond to the "flus" and "contagions" of the
global economy); and technology (computers and the "electronic superhighwayw)-now
provide the semiotic raw materials for the forging or "conjuring" of competing new
"globalities," This article will consider one of the more potent and forceful of these
"conjured globalities" (Tsing 2000:11&21)-that of a "soft" and "telematic" capitalism, a networked global economy built on high-speed informational flows, into which
material ecologies and biological bodies are increasingly incorporated through their
digitalization and virtualization, and through the "withering away" of the mediating
layers of local, regional, and national governance.
Several strands make up the articulatory network of this particular vision of the global:
ecology and economy are constructed as inherently turbulent, unruly, and "chaotic";
globalization, including that of economy and of ecology, is constructed as inevitable;
differences between nature/ecology and society/economy are blurred, with both
redescribed in the terms of systems science; and digitalization, virtualization, and a
"liberated" high-speed capitalism are constructed as the proper and natural responses
to their unruliness, providing the appropriate means of managing these chaotic systems. In what follows, I will begin by reading a series of moments in the current media
production of this disorderly globality, contextualize these within recent shifts in capitalist governmentality and in the popular technocultural imagination, and envision a
hypothetical future-a "social science fiction" (Bogard 1996:6-8)-in which "global
economy" and "global ecology" have become integrated into a seamless web of digital
data flows.
My argument proceeds in three parts. I begin by comparing media representations of
recent and relatively "global" economic and ecological events: specifically, the 19971998 Asian economic crisis, the 1997-1998 El Nifio-Southern Oscillation, and (for a
more Canadian window on the globality of ecological systems) the ice storm that hit
much of Eastern Canada and New England in January of 1998. The globalization of
economy and ecology-global flows of events flickering across television screens and
computer monitors, perhaps more so than they are events occurring in non-digitalized environments-takes place within an international context characterized by
vast differences of wealth and power, and the geopolitics structuring these differences
(north versus south, east versus west) are evident in the strands of this technocapitalist "globality." Demonstrating that both ecology and economy are commonly constructed as volatile, unpredictable, and unruly, at the same time as their globality is
presented as inevitable,l I next argue that the question that naturally follows from
such a construction is: How are these unruly systems to be managed? Commonly conceived responses to this question range from the "hard" solution of a technocratic and
panoptic global surveillance state to the "softer" path of a continued, though technologically intensified, liberalization of markets. But there is an overlap between these
two "solutions," one that is evident in the development of surveillance and simulation
technologies in the context of "soft" and "fast" capitalism (Thrift 1997; Agger 1989), a
world in which capitalist firms and entrepreneurs compete for position within networks of increasingly overlayered and integrated high-speed informational systems.
In the final part of this article, I examine some of the technoscientific shifts accompanying these global economic and ecological developments, specifically digital modelling and information-processing technologies, and nonlinear dynamical-systems
(a.k.a. chaos and complexity) theories. By rendering the "real" world into the form of
digital data, these technoscientific imaginal and representational systems promise a
means for managing unstable economies, ecologies, and material bodies. What is curious is that ideas of unruliness and chaos are themselves drawn into a wide variety of
different articulations, ranging from the scientific and professional (chaos and complexity theory, management training) to the popular and alternative (cyberculture,
New Age spirituality). In the hyperreal theatre of global culture, it seems that these
ideas fill a space of iconic reassurance, a space which, in effect, supports the linking
together of strands that make up the "social science fiction" of technocapitalist globality. The "chaos" of the global body politic is in this way tamed but also sent reeling
into a higher orbit of fast capitalism. And as various data systems-geographic information technologies, digital surveillance and simulation systems, and other interfaces
with the "real" world of nature-become integrated increasingly with the technologies of global finance and capital, I suggest that what was once "nature" is becoming
reprogrammable and more and more directly responsive to the waves and currents of
the global financial and economic "casino" (Strange 1986). This development, though
its end point remains science-fictional, raises questions about how such a globalized
and digitalized economy/ecology redistributes "risks" and "investmentsn-not only
economic but personal, cultural, community, and ecological risks/investments.
My intent, then, is to propose a "social science fiction" of this emergent telematic-capitalist globality in order to better understand its aporia and possible alternatives. As
Bogard explains, a "social science fiction" combines an analysis of the present with a
futuristic genealogy of a past that has not yet occurred. It "chronicles how a fantastic
machine might recount its past, a past that haunts our own technological present and,
like some displaced recollection, precedes it" (1996:7, original emphasis). It aims
to describe the social or institutional "effects" of an imaginary technology, not
in a causal sense, but in the way a simulacrum is woven into the current technical practices of a society, as the virtual form of their development. (1996:B)
The trends described here lead to a telematic capitalist future of digitally hypercontrolled environments insofar as the vision or simulacrum that inhabits them--one of
speed, virtuality, and an idnitely malleable and digitalizable world-is effectively
embodied in social and material realities. The linkage of its articulatory strands is not
inevitable; it can be resisted and contested, but only with a deepened appreciation of
how those strands are being linked together.
Constructing Global Turbulence: Contagions, Storms, and Other Unruly Tricksters
The Asian Crisis
In what had become a common trope representing global financial turmoil, a fullpage Merrill Lynch ad that appeared in the New York Times on 20 August 1998, reflecting on the "ongoing upheaval in the emerging markets" of Asia, Russia, and Japan,
advised potential clients on how to "successfully weather the global storm." Mean-
while, on the evening news, Canadian prime ministerJean Chretien was declaring to a
crowd of Liberal Party supporters that 'X storm is buffeting the global economy-a
major storm." Expanding on the metaphor a little, a cover story in the 14 September
1998 issue of the US. News G World Report informed its readers that
What began 14 months ago as a faraway riffle when the bottom fell out of the
Thai currency known as the baht has now swelled to something like one of
those awful desert storms that blow up on the other side of an ocean, then
land on American shores with names like Bonnie or Earl.
Referring to chaos theorists' so-called "butterfly effectm-physicist Edward Lorenz's
image representing the extreme sensitivity of non-linear or apparently chaotic natural
systems (like the weather) to their initial conditions-the article continued,
The butterfly that began flapping its wings in Thailand so many months ago
has now somehow spun up gale-force winds that have blown through Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and much of the rest of Asia before reaching landfall in Russia and, just lately, the fragile economies of Latin A m e r i ~ a . ~
The article's next two sub-headings-"Contagion spreads" and "Storm warningsnwere echoed in countless other media reports on the global effects of the so-called
Asian crisis. The New York Times portrayed it as a spectacular fire being watched from
across a river by the world's finance ministers and bankers (who were meeting in
Washington at the time). As the leaders "marveled at how high the flames were soaring, and how quickly they leapt from house to house," they discussed the "amazing
global economic village they planned to build someday on the charred landscape,"
with "computer controlled sprinkler systems," a protective shield to stop the spread
of flames, and new safety rules (Week in Review).
In this metaphorics of natural disturbances-stormy seas and tidal waves, hurricaneforce winds, financial firestorms, wildfires and tinderboxes-nature itself provides a
series of tropes by which the global economy is naturalized into something that can neither be predicted nor controlled-it is simply, and inevitably, there, like the weather.
Another prominent set of metaphors for the looming global financial crisis at the time
was one of technological accidents: market meltdown, chain reaction, slowdown, .tailspin, crash.3 The metaphorics of natural disturbances and technical accidents combine
to create a scenario of humans facing unfriendly weather conditions. A lead story on
CBC's nightly news program The National, under the headline "Storm warnings" (31
July 1998), informed viewers that "The Canadian economy sent out several signals
today-signals of distress," as if the national economy was a ntanic sailing seas that
were growing ominously stormy. (Meanwhile, another television ad at the time showed
the Canadian ship of state drifting Titanic-like towards an iceberg called "Y2K.")
Perhaps slightly more threatening, because of its whiffs of a latent racism, is the
language of viral outbreaks, flus, and contagions. Next to the more neutral "crisis,"
"Asian flu" was the most commonly used term to describe the 1998 bottoming out of
the Asian "tiger" economies following international investors' pull-outs from the Asian
markets. "When the contagion spread to Russia this summer," the CBC informed its
viewers, "the virus sent stock markets plunging from Rio to Wall Street" (Tbe
National, 16 September 1998). And on 14 September 1998, Time stated that "not
even a healthy U.S. can quarantine its factories and offices and markets from the
illnesses of countries halfway around the world" (Special report). In the Globe a n d
Mail, 8 October 1998, we read that "as the world's financial and economic crisis
washes toward North America," limiting "the spread of global economic contagion"
becomes increasingly difficult; while, in a lighter vein, the Toronto Star, 25 October
1998, portrays the threat as a Godzilla-like "economic monster that ate Asia."
For a while in early 1998, it seemed that the "quarantine theory" might be right: "first
quarter earnings of American companies looked surprisingly robust" and investment
in countries like South Korea and Thailand had begun to rebound (Time, 4 May
1998). The virus, in other words, could be contained within a region-sized "hospital
ward," through a combination of a financial "bitter-pill regimen" and immunization of
economies against future viral outbreaks. Not long afterwards, though, an alternative
conclusion had gained credence among economic pundits: that the effects of the
Asian "contagion" could take several months, perhaps years, to work their way
through the global economy. In this reading, Asia's currency plunge had only just
begun "to wreak havoc with trade patterns-creating a kind of economic eye in the
storm, a moment when current account balances, earnings forecasts and even orders
for durable goods like cars and houses look stable and healthy," but with "the rest of
the cyclone" still "surely coming."
For such a stormy future, nothing less would be needed than a new "international
financial fire brigade." Suddenly, it seemed that a latent fear had become public, as
even prominent economists and financiers began to acknowledge that there may be a
"shadow side" to the global economy, with its investment capital "sloshing around the
global market," a market which "magnifies our [sic] worst instinct," and a "herd mentality" among investors, whose money is "blown around the world by the fickle winds
of investor psychology" (Business viewpoint). The "global shock waves" were thereby
given, at least in part, a human cause, but the scapegoat remained obscure enough
that it might as well have been nature-the unruly, herd-like instincts of human
nature. But worrying about human nature soon became unnecessary. The global
economy bounced back, and the West's favoured conclusion about the Asian financial
debacle has become that there was something wrong with the Asian states themselves-their corruption and "cronyism," for example-and little to do with the processes by which they were turned into "emerging markets," new frontiers for
penetration and colonization by finance capital, complete with visions of investment
bonanzas in newly discovered exotic 10cales.~
Mother Nature and her Nasty Kids
Aside from those hints of a psychosocial explanation for financial turbulence, coverage
of global economic events has in fact taken on a remarkable resemblance to that of
ecological events. One could even say that a convergence has occurred between the
discursive representation of these once seemingly separate, but now tightly entangled,
spheres. Despite the now-forgotten exhortations of environmentalists to "think globally, act locally," ecology is being effectively globalized, both through the international
forums by which the world increasingly comes to grips with global environmental
problems, and through the technological and representational means by which they
are visualized and constructed. Even the weather, which was once highly localized and
of primarily regional interest, has been drawn into a web of transcontinental projections: digitally produced satellite views of warm and cold fronts; prognostications of
global warming, cooling, or "climate flip-flops"; and El Niiio "teleconnections" spreading outwards from the South Pacific to the furthest reaches of the planet.
El Niho (and, to a lesser extent, its sibling, La Niiia) is perhaps the most obvious
example of an apparently natural force that appears of its own accord and proceeds to
wreak havoc on economies, North American no less than others. Its connections to
anthropogenic global warming notwithstanding, the portrayal of El Niho as a menacingly unruly child (the Spanish term literally means "the Child") plays well into the
global economy of disaster imagery. Like the "Asian flu," this monstrous threat comes
from elsewbere (the South and East), and, as such, it lends itself to the old Orientalist
habit of blaming the developing world for the ecological crises wrought, in large part,
by the Western model of development.5 The "El Niiio Watch" features that peppered
American television during this episode became a kind of globalized Neighbourhood
Watch program: What are the nasty kids of your neighbourbood up to tonight?
In 1997 and 1998, the latter of which Weatbetwise called a "year of epic disasters" (Le
Comte 1999), El Niho took the blame for devastating floods in East Africa; hurricanes,
storms, and floods which killed thousands of people in Central America; and drought,
wildfires, and food shortages in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and
elsewhere. Its death toll has been estimated at 23,000, with between $33 billion and $90
billion in damages around the world.6 One of the "epic disasters" which carried the
elusive trickster's "signature" (Environment Canada 1998; Kerry et al. 1999)-according
to Canadian media, the worst and most expensive natural disaster in the nation's
history-the Ice Storm which hit Eastern Canada and the north-east United States in
January of 1998 shows us how even the most seemingly tzutuml disasters are always
more than mere acts of nature. This "storm of the century" (Harris 1998:38) captivated
millions of people, leaving about five million without electricity for hours, and some for
as many as thirty-three days (Abley 1998:14).
Ascribed to a "quirky, vengeful Mother Nature" wlson-Smith 1998), the storm resulted
in some thirty-five deaths, over $500 million lost in immediate damages, and billions
more in insurance claims, reconstruction costs, and lost economic output (Harris
1998:41;Abley 1998:15). Its economic toll figured prominently in media coverage of the
storm as it unfolded, with some economists arguing that its net result-which included a
minor baby boom triggered by the storm's side effect of increased leisure time-would
in fact boost economic activity and Gross Domestic Product.' In the end, the Insurance
Bureau of Canada estimated its disaster payout at $1.14 billion, the largest such in
Canadian history, but could happily add that the storm generated $2.2 billion in
economic activity, most of it in the form of temporary employment to rectify the damage
(Shilts 1999:24).
Yet, in the end, much of the storm's impact, especially in the densely populated
Montreal area, had everything to do with Quebec's over-reliance on huge generating
stations located hundreds of kilometres from consumers and on a relatively small
number of inadequately protected, massively high-voltage transmission lines-six in
Montreal and only one on the city's south shore.8 More than any other province in
Canada, Quebec has made its publicly owned utility "not just a public service but a
public symbol" (Abley 1998:122)--one invested with the full force of Quebecois
nationalism, with the province harnessing its northernmost regions (James Bay and
the North Shore), against the protests of Native communities, to build its infrastructural power base. The collapse of four of five of the transmission links feeding the
island of Montreal-the so-called "ring of powern--crippled much of the city, while
part of the nearby Monteregie area south of Montreal was turned into a "Triangle of
Darkness." "In picture after picture," Mark Abley writes in a coffee-table book of the
event, "steel rods lie broken like chicken bones across a wilderness of snow: visceral
proof that a network had collapsed" (1992:118). The fact that Hydro-Quebec had "no
contingency plan for working with municipalities, no permanent department for crisis
management, not even a computer simulation on how to deal with major power facilities" (1992:124) justifiably dismayed observers, and provided the promoters of utility
privatization fuel for their cause, a cause that has been gaining strength in Ontario
and other provinces in recent years.
Network collapse is among the worst nightmares of advanced industrial civilization.
The technological sort may be taken for granted, but at some level we recognize that
they can collapse. The build-up towards Y2K reminded us all, momentarily, that technological society is built on a certain fragility (on technology's part) and faith (on
ours). But natural systems are still assumed to be so much more solid and dependable. If human activities have destabilized the world's biological and ecological networks, they have also made these realms increasingly intertwined with the social and
economic; as the natural and the artifactual grow ever more blurred, they also
become more global and, in fact or at least in fiction (as shown in the above examples), more hazardous and unruly. Retrospective accounts of the ice storm most often
comment on the sense of local community that it catalyzed (a good thing), the eerily
beautiful images that it left behind (an ambivalent thing), and the belief that it was
caused by a finicky and unpredictable "mother nature" ("what can you do?"). But
when nature gets more and more unruly, as the discourse of climate change predicts it
will, we expect our politicians and scientists to do something about it. I will argue in
the next section that the discourse of networks and systems, and specifically that of
chaotic and complex systems (unlike the top-heavy kind Hydro-Quebec has installed
across its province), has itself become part of the reassuring mantra by which society
is responding to this perception of global unruliness, "Chaos"has become a cherished
invocation at the very time when the technological and economic tools for taming it
are being rapidly promoted and deve1o~ed.9But first I will conteaualize these developments-the obscuring of boundaries between ecology and economy, and their construction as global and as unruly-within the changes transforming governmentality
in advanced capitalist society.
Managing Global Turbulence
As economic events are rendered "natural," and "natural disasters" are increasingly
enmeshed within political-economic and technocultural networks, the line between
economy and ecology gets irretrievably blurred. Economic globalization begins to seem
both natural and inevitable, and "the global" becomes an unruly, inherently (and justifiably) competitive realm, yet at same time one which is turbulent and seemingly natural. Nature itself, once seen as the paragon of stability and invulnerability, takes on the
qualities that have characterized this last phase of global capital; volatile and turbulent,
risky and uncertain, it becomes a source of potential instability and danger.
In this framing of global economic and ecological events both as "natural disturbances," a tension can be seen between their representation as "natural and inevitable" and their portrayal as "nature out of control"-disturbances whose unruly causes
must be reined in and disciplined. In the case of global financial turmoil, these conflicting discourses suggest at least two possible responses. The first of these, and the
one most favoured by ruling political-economic classes, is a continued insistence on
the need for free-market solutions. Turbulence, according to this view, is to be
expected as we progress towards our economically globalized destiny; its "jitters"
should be stoically endured, and its kinks will be worked out-assuming, of course,
that we continue to eliminate the obstacles (state regulation, unionized labour) to
capital's unhampered flow.
However, as the volatile effects of the Asian crisis generated fears that it might spread
to other continents, this neo-monetarist response, as we saw, was supplemented with
vague calls for some kind of control over the global marketplace.10 Political-economic
elites for the most part resist this alternative path, as it suggests a detour from the
hands-off credo of neoliberalism; nevertheless, recurrent bouts of financial turmoil
can be expected to lead to more serious discussion of various forms of global regulation. The question is, what sort of regulation? What shape can the new "architecture
of global economic governance" take? Who will create it, and whose interests will it
serve? These same questions could be asked of global ecological decision-making,
and, once the questions are constructed in this way, two possible response-scenarios
suggest themselves.
Panoptic Technocracy versus Fast Capitalism
Modernity is often described as entailing a progressive intensification of social regulation through systems of administrative rationality and panoptic forms of "governmen-
tality" and normalization.11 For some, the new communications technologies have
expanded the possibilities for surveillance and normalization, contributing to the
emergence of a "Superpanopticon" (Poster 1990, 1995), a hypercontrolled society
ruled by a new "virtual class" of corporate information brokers and managers. l2 This
superpanopticon operates through a network of integrated technologies: the monitoring and recording of office work; electronic banking and shopping; electronically
accessed financial transactions, credit ratings, health records, and police files; the profiling, tracking, and "data mining" of individual Internet users; video surveillance cameras; Landsat satellites and global positioning systems (GPS); the securing of "gated
communities" by electronic locks or biometric (palm- or iris-scanning) gateways; electronic tracking bracelets for convicted criminals; and so on.
Nonetheless, in the absence of an obvious and overarching global authority, the Big
Brother scenario remains largely unconvincing. In the post-Bretton Woods, postCold War era of floating exchange rates, offshore capital markets, speculative "casino
capitalism" (Strange 1986), and the time-space compression of instantaneous communications and high-speed transportation systems, the world, as we have seen, is being
refigured as "a messy place which can never be known in its entirety" (Thrift 1997:36).
The second scenario for managing turbulence, then, is that of smaller-scale informational "mini-panopticons" proliferating at the level of businesses and workplaces,
schools, prisons, and local or state governments (Mehta and Darier 1998:108).
Detailed information about individuals becomes available (for a cost), and indeed circulates widely, but there are few central collection points which can make much use
of that information before it becomes outdated. Rather, its movement and transformation increases and multiplies into a disorderly "space of flows" (Castells 1989), eliciting a rush to develop technologies for tapping those flows and setting them into
profitable economic eddies and currents. The shift from top-down "control" models
to more flexible forms of temporal and spatial positioning is evident, for instance, in
corporate management discourses.
Nigel Thrift (1997) documents a shift from more "scientific" forms of administrative
management to a view of management as a form of speedy, constant adaptation and
adjustment, "surfing" and "going with the flow" within a larger environment that is
fast-moving, "fuzzy," and unpredictable, and in which knowledge is at best partial and
differentiated. The key, in this scenario, is speed and access. Survival in the world of
soft and fast informational capitalism has become a matter of "chronopolitics" (Virilio
1986), a war for position within high-volume and high-velocity, up-to-the-minute infoflows. As the war (by other means) proceeds, more and more of the complex and
unruly "real world" is digitalized-transposed into digital data which can be modelled, surveilled, simulated, and processed.
DigitalizingGlobal Nature
The last ten or fifteen years have seen a rapid globalization of the discourse of ecological managerialism and a growth in the institutional spaces and forms of expertise and
authority by which the world's ecosystems can be monitored and managed (e.g., the
Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization,
NAFTA, UNCED, and others). As argued by Goldman (1998), Sachs (1993), and others, the production of the idea of a "global commons," facilitated by the language and
imagery of "globalism"-photographs of the Earth from space, electronic graphics,
and so on-has been linked with the emergence of a technocratic class of global
resource managers, who, through the quantification of a transnational map of risks,
shortfalls, and disasters in the making, "constitute public spaces and resources as the
new commons to be monitored, measured, regulated and administered" (Goldman
1998:35). In the process, an institution like the World Bank is transformed from a
reckless modernizer to the main supporter of small-scale "extractive reserves"
(1998:67); for example, the Amazon rainforest, reconfigured as the "lungs of the
Earth," is being effectively seized from its dwellers, to be cared for by its First World
managers and patrons. This global managerialism-an
impending form of
"geopower" (0 Tuathail 1996:7) concerned with the production and management of
territorial space-plays into an authoritarian strain within the environmental movement which relies o n a well established rhetorical tradition centred on the Malthusian
fear of an expanding human population.l3 Furthermore, in Fernando Coronil's
(2000364) words, "as nature is being privatized and held in fewer hands, it is being
redefined as the 'natural capital' of denationalized nations ruled by the rationality of
the global market" (see World Bank 1995, 1997).
Yet despite any efforts to rein environmental politics into the managerial grip of a global administrative technocracy, environmental management is increasingly taking
place within an unstable arena of competing interest groups and multiple stakeholders, among them different levels of government, industries, NGOs, and citizens'
groups. In a movement analogous to that found in managerial discourse, ecological
science has in the last few decades moved away from notions of ecosystemic "balance," "harmony," and "stability" to an understanding of nature as messy, unpredictable, and chaotic, explicable only through the application of non-linear dynamic and
chaotic systems theories, and even then far from entirely con troll able.^* Yet, as calls
for prediction and control intensify, global, regional, and local ecologies are submitted increasingly to a digitalization which renders them modellable and processable by
geographic information systems, remote sensing and global positioning systems, computer-assisted cartography, and other tools.
Geographic information systems (GIs), for instance, collect data from a wide array of
sources, including maps, photos, satellite imagery and remote sensing (meteorological and earth resources satellites), and field measurements, embedding this data into
multilayered and georeferenced systems for mapping, accounting, recording,
archiving, overlaying, and cross-referencing (Pickles 1995:5). Applications of GIs
range widely, from commercial uses (such as geodemographics as a marketing tool) to
governmental, community, recreational, and military applications; they are being rapidly integrated into agriculture and land use planning, forestry and wildlife management, geology, archaeology, and municipal planning, as well as other areas.15 A GISbased forest inventory, for instance-the primary management tool for timber production in North America-typically combines data from a number of sources, including
aerial photographs and digital satellite imagery, field measurements, administrative