Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland, 1500-1920$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

T.C. Smout and Alan R. MacDonald

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612413

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612413.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.388) Chapter 15 Conclusion
Source:
A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland, 1500-1920
Author(s):

T. C. Smout

Alan R. MacDonald

Fiona Watson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612413.003.0015

This chapter presents some concluding thoughts. At first sight it appears that the native woods of Scotland were not managed sustainably. From covering half or more of the land surface 5,000 years ago, they were in steep retreat from the Bronze Age onwards, much of the land was open when the Romans appeared, and the next 1,500 years saw further loss. By 1750, the extent of Scotland under wood was a little less than 10 per cent. The percentage under ancient semi-natural wood then fell to about 3 per cent around 1900 and is now about 1 per cent. However, one must also realize that much of the decline was either caused by or assisted by climate change of an entirely natural kind, and that it is now recognised that biotic communities seldom tend naturally towards stability but towards alteration. It is largely fruitless to speculate upon exactly how much of the collapse of the forests in prehistory was natural and how much man-made, but the onset of marked climatic oceanicity around the start of the Bronze Age would have severely changed the forests irrespective of any human intervention.

Keywords:   Scotland, native woods, forest decline, climate change, human intervention

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.