Volume 21, Issue 1-1, March 2017
DEFORESTATION OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF SERBIA, 1830-1878: OVERVIEW
Authors: Momir Samardžić, Milivoj Bešlin
Abstract: The goal of this article is to trace the appearance of a pattern of forest mismanagement from the beginnings of modern Serbian state in the 19th century. The article will demonstrate that rapid demographic growth, accompanied by the expansion of arable land due to a gradual transition from animal husbandry to agriculture as the dominant form of economy, led to a vigorous increase in the process of deforestation in the period spanning from the attainment of autonomy (1830) to the wars against the Ottoman Empire (1876-1878). Supremacy of agriculture in the beginning of the 1870s was achieved at the expense of forests, because the increase in agricultural yields in the peasant existential economy, which was characterized by underdeveloped agricultural techniques, meant a continuous expansion of arable land. The example of the Principality of Serbia confirms that in agrarian economies competition between the usufruct of the forest and its potential as agricultural land regularly ends with the removal of the forest.
Keywords: deforestation, floods, erosion, Serbia, 19th century, agriculture, peasant economy
Article info: 1-8
Received: May 15, 2016 | Revised: February 22, 2017 | Accepted: March 9, 2017