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Title: The use of woodland in Argyllshire and Perthshire between 1650 and 1850
Author: Lindsay, J. M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1974
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Palynological, archaeological, and ecological evidence indicates that certain established explanations of the decline of woodland in the Scottish Highlands are chronologically erroneous. It is further apparent that these explanations may be incorrect in their allocation of significance to different possible causal factors, and particularly the attribution of a major destructive role to commercial exploitation between the seventeenth and the nineteenth century. The use of woodland in Argyllshire and Perthshire between 1650 and 1850 is examined. Study of factors associated with the non-commercial use of timber and woodland produce by the rural community, and the use of woodland for grazing and other purposes, indicates that the role of these factors was significant but largely unquantifiable. Factors relating to commercial activity are then examined, with particular emphasis on detailed case studies of the use of native pinewood, the coppicing of deciduous woodland as a source of tanbark, and coppicing associated with iron smelting. In none of these examples is a significant decline in the quality and extent of woodland attributable to commercial use in the period examined. It is suggested that commercial use of woodland, as it affected the two counties, was in some cases beneficial in Introducing forms of management which temporarily arrested or reversed a process of degradation attributable to other factors. It is also suggested that commercial use in itself had a limited destructive effect, although it contributed to the decline of woodland by making it more vulnerable to this process of degradation during or after periods of exploitation or management. It is concluded that the decline of woodland in Argyllshire and Perthshire between 1650 and 1850 cannot be explained in terms of destruction by commercial activity; the decline of woodland in this period must therefore be attributed largely to the action of the complex of factors associated with the non-commercial exploitation of the woodland area, in adverse environmental conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available