How Forestry Began. How forestry began. By: Bob Gara. By: Bob Gara. Where to start? From the beginning of course: Three Nordic gods were traveling together on a deserted earth. Odin – Hoenir – Lodur -.
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How Forestry Began How forestry began By: Bob Gara By: Bob Gara
Where to start? • From the beginning of course: • Three Nordic gods were traveling together on • a deserted earth. Odin – Hoenir – Lodur - • As they passed two large tree branches they resolved to make mortals out of them! AND THEY SAID:
Aus einer am Strand gefundenen Esche machten sie daraufhin einen Mann (Askr) und aus einer Ulme eine Frau (Embla). Odin hauchte ihnen Leben ein, Vil gab ihnen Verstand und Gefühl (Bewegung) und Ve gab ihnen Gehör, Sprache und Antlitz (und warmes Blut?). Dies war das erste Menschenpaar.
“ From these two branches, I Odin will give them breath; Hoenir will give each of them a soul and the ability to reason; and Lodur will give them warmth (warmes Blut) and the color of life.” “ From the man called Ask (ash) and his wife Embla (vine) proceeded the entire human race (Dies war das erste Menschenpaar.)”
Let’s go back thousand’s of yrs to Mesopotamia and talk about it’s forests
The greater civilizations of Mesopotamia was built at the expense of seemingly endless cedar forests in mountains to the east and in the Ammanus Mts. to the north (ca. 2500 – 2000 BP). Cedars Sumer: first great civilization!
Within this civilization the Sumerians founded the great city of Ur, where the “Bronze Age” was at its highest. - bronze tools such as axes, hammers, hoes, and sickles facilitated common labor; but - producing bronze increased dramatically the need for wood to fuel the foundry furnaces; - carpentry shops were common - houses were being built of wood
Ammanus Mts. vast cedar forests Larger Mesopotamian civilization Zagros Mts. Sumerian civilization
Then Now The cedar forests of Mesopotamia
Many Islamic artists have tried to resurrect these ancient forests
Besides cedars, the forests of the Ammanus Mts. yielded: - Euphrates poplar - Willows - Unknown hardwoods, i.e. species elude scholars Products produced - logs, roof beams - levers - pegs and rungs of ladders - posts and rods for basketry - planks and boards - boat ribs - hoes, plows, handles etc. - branches and twigs made charcoal - branch bundles used to reinforce the banks of canals and rivers
Archeological restoration of a house in Ur -- heavy use of wooden timbers
By the 3rd millennium BP the growing civilization of the Euphrates-Tigris River basin created a large demand on timber resources to the East and, to the Northeast; great battles were fought for these resources! • The Sumerians ultimately gained control or the forests as well as the log transportation system formed by the Euphrates & Tigris Rivers.
Finally, as trees were felled and placed in the river systems, salt, silt, logs, wooden debris filled the upper reaches of the waterways. • The hillsides and mountainous areas were bared and the salt-rich sedimentary rocks of the north eroded rapidly.
Some final words about this ancient area: Increased salinization of the alluvial soils of Sumeria COINCIDED with the onset of Mesopotamian exploitation of its northern timberlands; Ammanus mts. (Headwaters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers)
Damn! Final words continued: Increased salinization was nonreversible & caused progressive decline in crop yields: - Harvests of barley averaged 2,537 liters/hectare in 2,400 BP (comparable to modern-day U.S. harvest). - Three hundred yrs. later, yields dropped by 42%.
By 2,000 BP, as barley production collapsed, so did Sumeria. • - Declining food production due to soil-salinization was the main factors in collapse of the Sumerians. Center of development moved north. What did we do wrong?
So, ecological and economic disasters caused by destruction of forests and watersheds is an old story.
Pliny the Elder (23-79AD) tells us that the Mts. of Lebanon continued to be an important timber region of the Roman Empire. Later, the Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD) worried about the dwindling timber supply of the Lebanese and Ammanus Mts. and declared a portion of this area as a “Timber Reserve of the Roman Empire.” “ARBORUM GENERA IV CETERA PRIVATA” Boundary of the forests of Emperor Hadrian Augustus: “four species are reserved, the rest are private” Imagine! A timber reserve!
Let’s move on! • There are many more examples of early use and tremendous misuse of forests: • Crete and Knossos • Ancient Greece • Cyprus • Rome • The Muslim Mediterranean • The Venetian Republic
The Roman Catholic Church and, in particular, the Benedictine order. St. Benedict (480–530) gave the order its motto: “Pray and Work”
St. Benedict established the first order at Monte Casino in 529 (now central Italy). By the end of the 7th century there were 400 Benedictine monasteries spread all over Europe. It is the way that new monasteries “budded-off” that is interesting to European forestry.
(1) As monasteries grew and monks felt crowded, they would leave in groups of at least 12 and enter the unknown forests around them. (2) The new groups would fell trees, build huts, till the newly-created openings in the forest, attract converts and gradually change the countryside.
(3) Also, since forested lands were not too valuable to the noble-birth land owners, they would deed tracts of forests to the new cloisters.
The monks change the landscape (continued) • In 1147 King Conrad III, a Germanic nobleman, gave large tracts of forested lands to the Cistercian monks if they would tame the land. • Archbishop of Magdeburg exempted land owners from tithe if they gave their “untamed forests and marshes” to the Cistercian monks. • So, for the next 300 yrs. monks drained swamps, cut forests, farmed the land and attracted settlers – the ultimate desire of the feudal economy of the time.
As the forests were cleared, some initial forest management principles emerged: In 1040 monks of the Vallumbrosan Order (off-shoot Benedictines): - preserved forests that were on terrain too tough to farm (“places where God would touch their souls”); - encouraged reforestation of cut forested land – prepared the sites for seeding; - planted seedlings dug from the forests; - shaped trees for basketry (pollarding) and stumps for sprouts – fuel wood.
Forestry 101 for monks By 1595 forest laws emerged A guide for the Trappists Monks near the French town of Trappe: “ … are hereby forbidden to cut any of the woods (trees) belonging to the abbey before the age of 15 years , seeing the poverty of the soil. They shall regulate their coupes (cutting areas) into 15 equal fellings and they shall leave standing at each felling at least five standards per coupe. They shall allow one-third of their forest area to grow as high forests on the best soil … etc.”
Besides setting forest reserves, and providing rudimentary rules on how to manage forest resources, the monasteries were the first to establish coppice and pollarding silvicultural systems. Coppice Pollard i.e. managing the sprouting ability of some tree species into systematized methods of providing forest products.
A sprouting stump (coppicing) Pollarding with the new sprouts harvested Arrow stocks derived from pollarding
Legacy of pollarding in a beech forest , England
Medieval forest management (Coppice) Coppice silviculture with standards (60yr rotation) Shaded trees are selected as standards 60 40 40 40
Legacy of the coppice method still used in Great Britain with chestnut forest
Are you getting this right!?
Let’s go to England during the times of Henry VII and his son, Henry VIII. 1491-1547 1485-1509
A tiny bit of history • During Henry VIIth reign (and before), England imported just about everything – including armaments. • Henry VIIth was shrewd and managed to contain the war-like goals of Spain and France by marrying his son Arthur to Catherine, daughter of the King of Spain. Caterína de Aragon
Tiny bit of history continued: • Henry VIIth also replenished the treasury after it was emptied by the War of the Roses (1399-1485). • Henry VIIIth married Catherine after Arthur died, but Catherine never had a son – and all that Henry VIIIth bad publicity started from this!
Henry VIIIth: (1) started with a full treasury and (2) made lots of enemies, so he decreed that England would have an arms industry and a first class Navy.
Cannon factory Iron ore mining and iron foundries flourished and the beech-oak forests of Sussex were disappearing!
Devastation of the forests
Bills were introduced in Parliament: • - “for the planting and setting woods of trees • - for the increase and preservation of woods • - for hedgerows not to be put to coals • - to avoid iron mills within 24mi of London • - to avoid making new iron mills in Sussex” • None of these bills passed, guaranteeing a huge conflict between industrialists and ordinary citizens over a rapidly dwindling wood supply and • “loss of our surrounding beauty.”
Henry VIIIth essentially established the British Navy and Elizabeth Ist carried on its massive construction. • Oak especially from Sussex was preferred by shipwrights. • Beech and elm also were used. • Repairing four of these ships: 1,740 oak trees & to build a new one took • 2,000 oaks.
Oaks were trained to grow for ship parts.
16th century shaping oak planking for the Mary Rose. Shaping top piece from oak
In studying history, we know that important events, are connected. Let’s connect the British Navy with German forestry. Later in this course we’ll connect British, French & German and U.S. forestry.
The question is, how long did the wooden-navies of the 17th century last? Maybe a few decades -- Shipworms!!!
Shipworms are mollusks that live in wood: their shell is modified into a wood-drilling bit.