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Conservation’s Roots: Managing for Sustainability in Preindustrial Europe, 1100–1800

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Volume 19

Environment in History: International Perspectives

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Conservation’s Roots

Managing for Sustainability in Preindustrial Europe, 1100–1800

Edited by Abigail Dowling and Richard Keyser
Afterword by Paul Warde

374 pages, 16 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-692-0 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (June 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-693-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The essays in Conservation’s Roots represent a thoughtful and compelling contribution to the field. They continue the scholarly conversation about the importance of pre-modern history to understanding sustainability, conservation, and the degrees to which people have both influenced their environments and understood the scale and import of their interventions.” • Ellen Arnold, Ohio Wesleyan University

“This collection is valuable and timely, with fresh insights in abundance. It will serve as an excellent reader for students and scholars of environmental history, as both a contribution to scholarship in its own right and a point of entry into the specialist literature.” • Angus J L Winchester, Lancaster University


The ideas and practices that comprise “conservation” are often assumed to have arisen within the last two centuries. However, while conservation today has been undeniably entwined with processes of modernity, its historical roots run much deeper. Considering a variety of preindustrial European settings, this book assembles case studies from the medieval and early modern eras to demonstrate that practices like those advocated by modern conservationists were far more widespread and intentional than is widely acknowledged. As the first book-length treatment of the subject, Conservation’s Roots provides broad social, historical, and environmental context for the emergence of the nineteenth-century conservation movement.

Abigail P. Dowling is an Assistant Professor of History at Mercer University.

Richard Keyser is a Senior Lecturer in the Legal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Subject: History (General) Environmental Studies (General)
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations

Richard Keyser and Abigail P. Dowling

Part I. Multiple-Use Resource Management in Preindustrial Societies: Pigs, Parks, Game, and Heathlands

Chapter 1. Controlling Pigs in Countryside and City for Sustainable Medieval Agriculture
Dolly Jørgensen

Chapter 2. Sustainability and Natural Resource Management at Hesdin, Artois, France, 1302–1329
Abigail P. Dowling

Chapter 3. Eating Your Game and Having It Too: North-Central Italian Conservation of Game Animals and Birds, 1300–1550
Cristina Arrigoni Martelli

Chapter 4. Sustaining Premodern Heathlands (1400–1750): Collective Knowledge and Peasant Communities in the Campine, Belgium
Maïka De Keyzer

Part II. The Governance of Aquatic Resources: Fishing and Flowing Freshwater

Chapter 5. Fisheries Regulations in Late Medieval Europe: Authorities, Concerns, Measures
Richard C. Hoffmann

Chapter 6. Managing the Lake Constance Fisheries, ca. 1350–1800
Michael Zeheter

Chapter 7. Keep the Water Flowing! Premodern Swedish Water Management
Eva Jakobsson

Part III. The Deep Roots of Woodland Conservation

Chapter 8. The Medieval Roots of Woodland Conservation: Northern France and Northwestern Europe, ca. 1100-1500
Richard Keyser

Chapter 9. Managing Southern French Forests under—and before—Colbert: Between Law and Custom, ca. 1500-1700
Sébastien Poublanc

Chapter 10. Conserving the ‘Vert’ in Early Modern Sherwood Forest
Sara Morrison

Chapter 11. Sustainability Prior to Carlowitz’s Sylvicultura? A Study Based on Cases from Schleswig-Holstein
Oliver Auge

Chapter 12. Traditional Woodland Management, Forest Legislation, and Modern Nature Conservation in East-Central Europe
Péter Szabó

Paul Warde


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