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When cities meet forests

Environmental approaches of interactions between cities and forest supplies during the Middles Ages and the Early modern period. 12th International Conference on urban History, European Association for Urban History – Main Session M16

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Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

As places of consumption and production European medieval and early modern cities exerted a enormous pressure on neighbouring woodlands. Some historical studies have already discussed the way cities tried to impone their control on these lands emphasizing the diversity of needs which were fulfilled by forest exploitation (wood, timber, charcoal, grazing…). They often concluded that urban pressure resulted in an inexorable degradation of the forest cover. Indeed local woodlands and forests products could probably never meet the demand. In order to face shortage or, better, to prevent it, urban authorities attempted on one hand to extend their control on more and more distant forests and to attract interregional or « international » trade flows. On the other hand, they tried to regulate the local market so as to ensure access to several important needs regarding urban economy (charcoal, timber).

Announcement

Argument

As places of consumption and production European medieval and early modern cities exerted a enormous pressure on neighbouring woodlands. Some historical studies have already discussed the way cities tried to impone their control on these lands emphasizing the diversity of needs which were fulfilled by forest exploitation (wood, timber, charcoal, grazing…). They often concluded that urban pressure resulted in an inexorable degradation of the forest cover. Indeed local woodlands and forests products could probably never meet the demand. In order to face shortage or, better, to prevent it, urban authorities attempted on one hand to extend their control on more and more distant forests and to attract interregional or « international » trade flows. On the other hand, they tried to regulate the local market so as to ensure access to several important needs regarding urban economy (charcoal, timber).

In this complex issue though, environmental approaches have seldom been dealt with. For example historical studies have rarely been linked to archaeological, dendrochronological or archaeobotanical data. More generally speaking, we still know little about the transformations of forests landscapes during the Middle Ages and the Early modern period except the fact that they tended to disappear under pressure. It is the aim of this session to try to better know the urban policies with regard to woodlands and to show the potential of such approaches by comparing differents case-studies. In other words, the session will explore questions such as :

  • How did cities transformed their forest environment (which means, which rules, which market policies, which institutions ?),
  • Did they foster one type of forest use/supply rather than others ? (firewood, charcoal, timber ?) and if so how did they do so ?
  • How did they organize the different sources of supply and the different trade levels (local, regional, international) ?
  • And finally, how did forests evolve under those specific urban pressures in different parts of Europe ?

 The scale of analysis can be multiple ranging from the study of so-called peri-urban forests to large forests dedicated to international trade opportunities. 

Submission guidelines

The online submission form is open from May 15 to October 15, 2013 for all paper proposals.

Details can be found at http://www.eauh2014.fcsh.unl.pt

To submit a paper proposal, registration is required.

If you have already create an account in this website, please log in and add a new submission.

A paper proposal for presentation at the conference should be submitted in the form of an abstract only (not to exceed 300 words).

After the deadline the session organizers will make a selection of accepted proposals and will notify all authors about their decision by December 15, 2013.

Session organizers

  • Philippe Bernardi
  • Paulo Charruadas
  • Chloé Deligne

 

 

 

Places

  • Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, NOVA University of Lisbon
    Lisbon, Portugal

Date(s)

  • Friday, November 15, 2013

Keywords

  • cities, towns, woodlands, forests, environment, wood resources, wood uses

Contact(s)

  • Paulo Charruadas
    courriel : pcharrua [at] ulb [dot] ac [dot] be

Information source

  • Paulo Charruadas
    courriel : pcharrua [at] ulb [dot] ac [dot] be

To cite this announcement

« When cities meet forests », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, https://calenda.org/259666

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