The History of Foresting: A Scientific Endeavor

By bsozak | October 23, 2012

The measures taken by many nations to sustain and use forests as a resource have been paramount to the success of human beings throughout history. The preservation and careful consumption of a forest’s resources are so important that one great forest has even been mentioned in an epic poem by an Italian poet named Dante Alighieri in 1308: Divine Comedy. 5th century monks started the forest mentioned in this poem as a plantation called Stone Pine. This was long before siding was used on architectural structures, such as log cabins and homes. It was carefully managed through the 7th century until they began experiencing increased shortages in wood. Due to this crisis, they put a code in place to preserve oak and pine forests.

In China, forests had been managed and used for resources dating back as far as the Han Dynasty, which began in 206 BC. Landowners had the authority to manage these forests and to decide how to best use its resources. In 16th century Europe, the control of deciding which timber could be cut was also coupled with the power of granting hunting rights. Member of the nobility class held this position. John Evelyn in the British Isles first encouraged the practice of beginning tree plantations. This eventually led to a worldwide movement, which produced abundant resources, some of which are used to make cedar siding today. The minister working under Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert was responsible for planting the Forest of Troncais, which later matured in the 19th century.

Today in Western nations, forestry laws have continued to evolve and are enforced in response to the growing concern of rapid dwindling of major forests throughout the world. A few centuries ago, forestry was officially recognized as a science and today, this area of science has been broken down into four sciences: ecology, environmental science, agroforestry and agriculture.  Now with careful monitoring, log products can be generated in proportioned numbers for homeowners to apply to their dream homes. Professionals in these fields act just as ancient authorities did, with the exception of far more advanced technology and a much greater knowledge of the sciences.

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