Publication details

The Horka Litter Raking Incident : On Foresters and Peasants in Nineteenth-Century Moravia



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Environment and History
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords Traditional forest management; Moravia; forest conflict; leaf litter raking
Description Litter raking was a traditional forest use representing an interface between forestry and agriculture. In forest history, it has usually been presented as the harmful removal by peasants of biomass, which was gradually eliminated by foresters, leading to better forest preservation. Based on the example of an exceptionally well-documented case of illegal litter raking in Moravia in 1845, in this paper I argue that juxtaposing foresters and peasants in connection with litter raking masks a much more complicated reality. Neither foresters nor peasants can be interpreted as homogeneous groups because there were significant differences in the opinions and agendas of various representatives within these groups. In addition, opinions were not static on either side but could change in a discursive pattern. In a wider context, the environmental historical analysis of the Horka litter raking incident facilitates the understanding of larger societal processes that influenced past woodland management in Central Europe, and therefore current ecosystems too.

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