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Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History

by Charles Watkins
£18.00   paperback  Reaktion Books (2016)

Trees, Woods and Forests: A Social and Cultural History by Charles Watkins Forests and woods have always been central to the development of human technology and culture and our expansion as a species. Trees, Woods and Forests shows how for thousands of years, woodland has been managed by humans using ancient practices such as coppicing and pollarding trees for fuel and as fodder for animals. In the early Middle Ages royal forests were established across Europe as the hunting grounds of kings. In the seventeenth century European enthusiasts collected, named, catalogued and acclimatized trees from all over the world in arboreta, while in the eighteenth century the cult of the Picturesque transformed attitudes to trees in the landscape.
 
Trees can live to a great age, and some woods appear timeless and ancient, yet they are prone to sudden death through fire and storm. Human activity has led to the clearance and destruction of enormous areas of woodland and has also brought about the rapid spread across continents of potent diseases such as chestnut blight and ash dieback. In recent years, anxiety about the environmental impact of humans on trees has led to the establishment of national parks and reserves, as well as the practice of ‘rewilding’ landscapes.
 
This book, now available in paperback, draws on the most recent work of historians, archaeologists, geographers, botanists and foresters, and explores forests in Britain, the us, Greece, Italy and France. It is a comprehensive and fascinating overview of humankind’s interaction with these most valuable resource

ISBN 13: 9781780236643 | ISBN 10: 1780236646