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Scholarship of Design
Verdant Persuasion:
The Use of Landscape as a Warfighting Tool during Operation Enduring Freedom
Fionn Byrne
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This paper documents the United States military’s use of landscape as an active warfighting tool during Operation Enduring Freedom. A selection of declassified projects that outline plans for tree plantings, which range in scale and design intensity from individual tree replacement to urban park improvements and large-scale reforestation efforts, demonstrate a consistent weaponization of the physical and mental health benefits that result from exposure to green space. Together, the examples show how landscape design tactics can subdue counterinsurgency by promoting stability through social control and improving the mental health of local civilians. Finally, the paper offers a lens to understand the associations between health and landscape as a matter of military interest and political concern and, ultimately, as subject to control and resistance.

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