The scholarships has shown that humans were depleting early-modern forests globally. This study examines the case of the Ottoman Western Balkans, where forests were able to regrow in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries despite the Porte’s intention, as evidenced by the political centre's leading economic ideas, policies and actions, to foster demographic and agricultural growth at the expense of forests. While limited timber extraction supported the local demands of urbanization, industry, and militarization, the main trend was the one of reforestation. The trend is described by contemporary observers of these forests, and is indicated by regional reductions in rural life security, the growth of pastoralism at the expense of agriculture, the relative geographical isolation of the region from major trade routes, and by the variable climate of the Little Ice Age. Istanbul’s political elites failed to create social conditions conducive to demographic growth, agricultural expansion, and forest exploitation.
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Thesis advisor: Clossey, Luke
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