chapter  9
The Woodland Realm
ByHugh Clout
Pages 13

France remained firmly in the timber age during the July Monarchy even though the extraction of coal increased from about 1,000,000 tonnes on the eve of the Revolution to 2,500,000 tonnes in the mid-1830s and canal construction allowed it to be moved more easily and cheaply, 1 For example, the canal network of Nord was enhanced considerably between 1820 and 1830 and by 1833 the Oise was canalised which facilitated shipments to Paris. 2 In spite of such changes in transportation and fuel supplies France's iron- and glass-works continued to display many old-established locational features, with charcoal retaining its importance in iron-making districts such as Moselle, Haute-Marne and Ariège Timber was also of vital significance for fuelling a host of other industries, for shipbuilding, constructing dwellings, heating homes and providing raw material for craft activities. As well as providing timber for felling or gathering many woodlands also yielded pastoral resources such as beech mast, acorns and the valuable light mantle of ground vegetation that covered relatively open areas. In addition, herbs and wild fruits were collected by the poor who also cut undergrowth for kindling and for fertilising their plots.