Document Type



The question of who participates in making forest environments usually refers to human stakeholders. Yet forests are constituted through the participation of many other entities. At the same time, digital technologies are increasingly used in participatory projects to measure and monitor forest environments globally. However, such participatory initiatives are often limited to human involvement and overlook how more-than-human entities and relations shape digital and forest processes. To disrupt conventional anthropocentric understandings of participation, this text travels through three different processes of "unsettling"to show how more-than-human entities and relations disrupt, rework, and transform digital participation in and with forests. First, forest organisms as bioindicators signal environmental changes and contribute to the formation and operation of digital sensing technologies. Second, speculative blockchain infrastructures and decision-making algorithms raise questions about whether and how forests can own themselves. Third, Amerindian cosmologies redistribute subjectivities to change how digital technologies identify and monitor forests within Indigenous territories. Each of these examples shows how more-than-human participation can rework participatory processes and digital practices in forests. In a time when forests are rapidly disappearing, an unsettled and transformed understanding of participation that involves the world-making practices of more-than-human entities and relations can offer more pluralistic and expansive forest inhabitations and futures. © 2023 Michelle Westerlaken, Jennifer Gabrys, Danilo Urzedo, and Max Ritts.

Publication Title

Environmental Humanities

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page






Included in

Geography Commons


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.