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Hedges in rural landscapes
Forests in medieval Europe
Forests for recreation
Human impacts on the forest
A catalogue for lumbermen

Hedges in rural landscapes

L'arbre et la haie. D. Soltner. Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire, Angers, France, Science et techniques agricoles. 1985. 200 pp.

Rediscovery of the hedgerow - of the attractions of a landscape of verdant meadows separated and enclosed by a network of leafy barriers - is the central theme of this work, now in its seventh edition Besides its role in the protection of soil, crops, animals and farms, the hedge is now seen as having an aesthetic function Soltner, in this hook, leads us on a tour of the hedgerows of France, Italy. Portugal, the United Kingdom. Cameroon. Senegal and Mexico.

The needs of rural and urban development have everywhere brought about changes in the landscape, such as the elimination of certain trees and the destruction of earthen hanks and hedges. How can these development needs he met without disturbing the ecological balance and depriving the landscape of its uniqueness?

Soltner proposes various solutions. Where hedges might constitute an obstacle to vehicular traffic, agricultural machinery or buildings, an alternative to total eradication or doing nothing is "rational remodelling". The first step in such management consists, for cultivated areas, of expanding the network of hedges, improving existing hedges by making them higher, thicker and more resistant, and conserving isolated trees, coppices and woods. In populated rural areas, future urban centres should he planned "around the trees".

The second step in management is to plant trees around fields, villages and houses where the network of hedges has been interrupted The most appropriate species of trees and the most effective combination of hedges should he chosen in accordance with the purpose foreseen for the site.

The technical and practical advice in this manual for it is basically a manual - is well illustrated by numerous photographs and drawings, as pertinent as they are explanatory.

Fay Banoun, Rome

Forests in medieval Europe

Des arbres et des hommes. R. Bechman. Paris, Flammarion. 1984. 385 pp. Price: F 98.00.

Forests have always waxed and waned with the ebb and flow of the population. During the Gallo-Roman period, the Carolingian epoch and the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, demographic pressure, particularly in the Mediterranean regions, contributed to the disappearance or degradation of forests which, at the time of the Gauls, had covered three-quarters of western Europe

What did the people of the Middle Ages seek in the forest? As now, they sought edible products. In addition to fruits and mushrooms, many roots were eaten, such as fern rhizomes which were crushed and used to make a bread that was still eaten at the time of Louis XV Other products, of course, were fuelwood and meat At the time of the Crusades, boars were hunted in the forest to procure a supply of salted meat.

As it is today, agriculture was the chief cause of the forests' destruction. From the end of the tenth century to the middle of the thirteenth, the extent of cultivated area proved insufficient Famines occurred and a great effort was made to increase the arable land. Everywhere, Bechman maintains, "the forest retreated before the woodcutter's axe and the settler's plough" A real agricultural revolution began, marking the time when the forest ceased to be intimately linked to the farming cycle.

Besides the increased use of saws - which were responsible for the boom in logging - the wool industry, in full expansion in the thirteenth century, encouraged sheep farming everywhere, thus increasing the extent of grazing land at the expense of the forests. As weaving techniques were perfected and textile markets proliferated, the Italians, French. Flemish, English and Spanish devoted themselves more intensely to sheep production.

The construction of dwellings for a growing population, civil engineering projects, fortifications, merchant and war vessels and even the Gothic cathedrals were all responsible for deforestation. In the Netherlands, once "the country of the forest'', the forests disappeared forever.

It should not be thought, however, that medieval people were unaware of the importance of trees. In England, forests were established and reserved for hunting. In France, the regulated felling introduced under Charles V marked an historic turning-point in forest utilization. Areas in which forest grazing was forbidden were regularly defined and sanctions were imposed on the herdsmen responsible for stray animals. In France, the clearing and removal of wood was forbidden in some areas at certain seasons to permit coppicing and encourage natural seeding.

Finally, the tree itself became a symbol. It was an object of popular veneration and throughout the Middle Ages the Church waged a relentless war against tree worship" The tree played a part in myths, and even penetrated into literature: in Shakespeare's Macbeth it is a forest on the march that brings down the usurper.

Bechman gives us a penetrating and engaging analysis of the forests in the Middle Ayes, a crucial period in the history of the forests, when - people their chief predator - finally learned to become their allies

HIKERS IN AN URBAN FOREST balancing recreation and protection

Forests for recreation

Le bois dans les équipements de loisirs en plein air. G. Tersen. Paris, Institut pour le développement forestier (IDF). 1984. 315 pp.

This book deals with an aspect of the forest that is well understood and highly appreciated by a wide public seeking recreation: its social function. In recent years many forested areas have been promoted to leisure sites for city dwellers. Many of these areas, however, have proved too fragile or too vulnerable for the mass of visitors and tourists who have invaded them. A policy of providing amenities for walkers has therefore evolved and been given concrete form in recreational management planning aimed at reconciling recreational requirements with conservation of the landscape and respect for traditional production activities

Consequently, this hook is primarily concerned with the wooden structures suitable for use in providing recreational amenities.

After briefly reviewing the role of the forest from medieval times to the present, the author illustrates how, as society evolves, forests -originally landed estates and a means of production - have found themselves caught up in a movement to increase recreational areas. This has given rise to the idea of forest recreation and hence of providing recreational facilities within forests.

Literally following in the steps of a walker who has come to seek recreation in the forest, Tersen describes how forest managers can meet the hiker's needs and desires and how they can resolve the problem of the structures needed for troth leisure activities and for the protection of the forests from pollution and trampling.

The structures described, some essential and others optional, are intended for parking areas, paths, picnic and play areas, shelters, viewpoints and panoramas. The book lists the species most suitable for the construction of various structures, advises how to treat the wood in order to protect it and, through numerous photographs and drawings, gives many examples of signboards, models for fences, benches, tables, refuse bins, toilet facilities and games tin troth adults and children.

Anxious to reduce environmental damage from the erection of such structures, Tersen recommends that forest managers use only natural materials - wood from the forests, stone, a lot of soil and always plants.

Just one reproach it is not always clearly established whether the book addresses itself to foresters or to handymen.

Fay Banoun, Rome

Human impacts on the forest

Impacts de l'homme sur la forêt. Les colloques de l'INRA. Paris, Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA). 1984.

This book reproduces a number of reports submitted at an international symposium on the impact of human beings on the forest, organized in Strasbourg from 17 to 22 September 1984 by the Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA).

The central issue debated was how to reconcile the changing needs of society with a healthy, stable forest. Twenty-seven papers were discussed by 160 participants from 30 different countries.

In his opening address, Mr R. Souchon. Secretary of State for Agriculture and Forestry (France), emphasized how, leaving aside natural cataclysms, it is the activity of human beings with their needs for arable land and pasture, that has always determined how much space is left for forests. The concept of forests as an integral part of a country's natural and social heritage is very recent.

In the industrialized countries this new interest in the forest derives from three factors: the need for a natural environment less affected by human impact; the convergence on the forest of the first ecological anxieties: and realization that the economy of modern societies rests on unprecedented demand for energy and natural resources.

In the developing countries, there is no real awareness of this as yet, nor is there likely to be while poverty and malnutrition persist. As J.P. Lanly. Director of FAO's Forestry Resources Division, pointed out in his introductory speech, it is these factors that are the basic causes of the disappearance of the natural forests.

The subjects studied by the participants range from the destructive effects of atmospheric pollution on the stability and health of the forests to the growing requirements for recreation and leisure in a forest environment and the conflicts among wildlife management, grazing and tourism. The effect of human actions on the evolution of forest gene resources is examined in depth.

One of the papers deals with choosing species for a healthy, stable forest, taking into account not only the trees hut also many factors that affect the environment, including people.

A catalogue for lumbermen

Machines d'exploitation forestière. Paris, ARMEF. 2 vols. 1984.

Mechanization has become essential for anyone wishing to maximize troth productivity and the utilization of forest products. Increasingly sophisticated implements are now available, troth for those undertaking large-scale logging and for small farmers harvesting a farm wood-lot. If small farmers do not want to buy more machines, thereby incurring ever heavier amortization costs, they now have a choice of specific implements that can he adapted to an agricultural tractor.

The Association pour la rationalisation et la mécanisation de l'exploitation forestière (ARMEF) has just issued a two-volume collection of data sheets which cannot fail to interest anyone engaged in felling, regardless of the size of the operation.

The information given in these sheets deals mainly with how the machines work, their general and technical characteristics and their role in the various logging operations.

The machinery described is divided into two groups: actual logging machines (tree trimmers, skidders, haulers, forestry agricultural machines, tracked vehicles) and equipment (brush diggers, slicers, debarkers, loading winches and grippers, grab hooks).

Each category comprises several machines of different brands and types, illustrated by photographs; each of the machines mentioned is the subject of a separate sheet which, in addition to describing the characteristics, also gives the name and address of the constructor and the distributor, resinous" conifer areas. It seems ironic that an island which boasts some of the most beautiful waters of the Mediterranean should lack terrestrial water resources.

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