down woodlands. Forests provided valuable resources, including resources with high military values, and woodlands served often served as a refuge for unruly people. However, Central European forestry was different. It sought to protect the forests and drew on the powers of the early modern states as the crucial protectors of the woodlands. State control and scientific, far-sighted use have been pillars of sustainable forestry ever since, and yet this presentation argues for a more nuanced view of European forestry. The promise of sustainability was far more ambiguous and far more interest-driven, and multiple side effects soon came into view. Rural residents were disinclined to pay for forest resources that they had traditionally obtained for free. The foresters’ calculations came to naught with unexpected weather events and fluctuations of demand. When foresters moved from managing forest use to planting new forests with fast-growing conifers, the problems of monoculture became evident. In short, European forestry was an ambiguous project even before it went global in the wake of colonialism. The presentation will discuss the contradictions of sustainable forestry and inquire whether Japan, the other country that exerted tight control over its woodland, protected forests in a more sophisticated way.