Woodland History Conference 2018
NWDG WOODLAND HISTORY CONFERENCE 2018 – THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER 2018.
Battleby, by Perth
THE NATURE OF THE FIRST FORESTS IN NW EUROPE
''It is 20 years since Frans Vera published his thesis, arguing that the earliest forests of north-west Europe were not closed canopy woodland, but open wood-pastures of mixed grassland and wooded glades. This theory has proved very influential among conservationists interested in re-wilding, but failed to convince everyone: yet the consequences for our understanding of landscape history are momentous. For example, could Mesolithic people have moved about freely in open country, and did Neolithic people introduce farming without needing to clear dense forests away first? And Vera wrote just about lowland Europe, especially about oak: how far should we apply the same picture to the uplands and to birch and pine? This meeting invites Vera to restate his theory and to examine the response of palynologists and other scientists” – Chris Smout.
The conference will involve a discussion about the impact and validity of Vera’s ideas in retrospect. Vera himself will speak, alongside paleo-environmentalists, archaeologists and historians. So far, we have confirmed Professor Fraser Mitchell of Trinity College, Dublin (https://www.tcd.ie/Botany/staff/frasermitchell.php) and Professor Ralph Fyfe of Plymouth University (https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/ralph-fyfe), in addition to Vera. We are currently in the process of confirming other speakers and details will follow.
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We are grateful to Forestry Commission Scotland for their continued support of this event.
NWDG member with saw mill blade for scale
Photo © C. Mills