Read e-book online Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History PDF

By Charles Watkins

ISBN-10: 1780233736

ISBN-13: 9781780233734

Forests— - and the bushes inside them - —have continuously been a significant source for the improvement of expertise, tradition, and the growth of people as a species. studying and not easy our ancient and sleek attitudes towards wooded environments, this attractive booklet explores how our figuring out of forests has reworked lately and the way it matches in our carrying on with anxiousness approximately our impression at the ordinary world.
Drawing at the latest paintings of historians, ecologist geographers, botanists, and forestry execs, Charles Watkins unearths how proven rules approximately trees—such because the unfold of continuing dense forests around the complete of Europe after the Ice Age—have been wondered or even overturned through archaeological and ancient examine. He indicates how quandary over forest loss in Europe isn't good based— - in particular whereas tropical forests somewhere else stay cleared— - and unpicks the diversity of values and meanings varied societies have ascribed to the arboreal. targeting the British Isles but in addition forests within the usa, Greece, Italy, and France, Trees, Woods and Forests presents a finished, interdisciplinary evaluation of humankind’s interplay with this abused yet worthy resource.

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For example in St Athanasius’ Life of St Anthony, written in ad c. ²4 This ‘exchange of landscapes’ preceded the Norman Conquest of England: Aelfric (c. 955–1005), the abbot of Eynsham, referred to John the Baptist going to the wilderness ‘to escape the vices which men practise’, where ‘He drank neither wine, nor beer, nor ale, nor any of the drinks which men drink. ’ Solitary ascetics restricted their existence by staying in caves or the hollow interiors of ancient trees. ²5 In Anglo-Saxon and Norman times felons were ‘put outside the law’ and were said to bear ‘the wolf ’s head’ and to be ‘treated as wolves by those within the law’.

37 Trees, Woods and Forests Alexander’s love of hunting was described by the Roman senator Quintus Curtius Rufus in his biographical account of Alexander fighting deep in Asia. There were ‘no greater indications of the wealth of the barbarians in those regions than their herds of noble wild beasts, confined in great woods and parks’. They chose for this purpose ‘extensive forests made attractive by perennial springs’ and they ‘surround the woods with walls and have towers as stands for hunters’. When Alexander arrived, ‘the forest was known to have been undisturbed for four successive generations’ and ‘entering it with his whole army’ he ‘ordered an attack on the wild beasts from every side’.

61 Trees, Woods and Forests be underestimated. Moreover the right to hunt in their private parks was an enormously important privilege and sign of status for the gentry. 5² Richard fitz Nigel, an important treasury official who later became bishop of London, noted in his Dialogus de Scaccario of 1176–7 that ‘It is in the forests too that “King’s chambers” are, and their chief delights. ’5³ In 1302 several of Edward i’s staff went hunting in the castle park at Huntington in west Herefordshire on the Welsh border and wrote about the incident to the king.

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Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History by Charles Watkins

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