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A Forest on the Sea: Environmental Expertise in Renaissance Venice

Overview

Wood was essential to the survival of the Venetian Republic. To build its great naval and merchant ships, maintain its extensive levee system, construct buildings, fuel industries, and heat homes, Venice needed access to large quantities of oak and beech timber. The island city itself was devoid of any forests, so the state turned to its mainland holdings for this vital resource. A Forest on the Sea explores the history of this enterprise and Venice’s efforts to extend state ...

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Overview

Wood was essential to the survival of the Venetian Republic. To build its great naval and merchant ships, maintain its extensive levee system, construct buildings, fuel industries, and heat homes, Venice needed access to large quantities of oak and beech timber. The island city itself was devoid of any forests, so the state turned to its mainland holdings for this vital resource. A Forest on the Sea explores the history of this enterprise and Venice’s efforts to extend state control over its natural resources.

Karl Appuhn explains how Venice went from an isolated city completely dependent on foreign suppliers for wood to a regional state with a sophisticated system of administering and preserving forests. Intent on conserving this invaluable resource, Venice employed specialized experts to manage its forests. The state bureaucracy supervised this work, developing a philosophy about the environment—namely, a mutual dependence between humans and the natural world—that was far ahead of its time. Its efforts kept many large forest preserves under state protection, some of which still stand today.

A Forest on the Sea offers a completely novel perspective on how Renaissance Europeans thought about the natural world. It sheds new light on how cultural conceptions about nature influenced political policies for resource conservation and land management in Venice.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Renaissance Quarterly - David Celetti
The work of Karl Appuhn, based on extensive archival research and rich technical insights, offers a major study devoted to the social, economic, administrative, and political aspects of Venetian forest management.
Journal of Modern History - John M. Hunt
Magisterial.
American Historical Review - Chandra Mukerji
A wonderful study of Venetian politics, natural knowledge, resource management, and bureaucratic development.
Sixteenth Century Journal - Robert A. Pierce
With this splendid and painstakingly researched volume, Appuhn is sure to inspire others to the view that nature is to be honored and respected, managed if necessary, but not merely there for human taking.
Journal of World History - Emily Manktelow
A must-have. Richly illustrated, highly readable, and filled with fascinating detail, this book should also enjoy a far wider readership among Pacific, colonial, and natural historians alike.
Cultural and Social History - Paul Warde
Appuhn blazes a trail where others may very usefully follow.
Isis - Pamela H. Smith
This remarkable book contains many fascinating details.
Choice
A useful work for upper-level students doing in-depth research.
Choice

A useful work for upper-level students doing in-depth research.

Renaissance Quarterly
The work of Karl Appuhn, based on extensive archival research and rich technical insights, offers a major study devoted to the social, economic, administrative, and political aspects of Venetian forest management.

— David Celetti

Journal of Modern History
Magisterial.

— John M. Hunt

American Historical Review
A wonderful study of Venetian politics, natural knowledge, resource management, and bureaucratic development.

— Chandra Mukerji

Journal of World History
A must-have. Richly illustrated, highly readable, and filled with fascinating detail, this book should also enjoy a far wider readership among Pacific, colonial, and natural historians alike.

— Emily Manktelow

Sixteenth-Century Journal
With this splendid and painstakingly researched volume, Appuhn is sure to inspire others to the view that nature is to be honored and respected, managed if necessary, but not merely there for human taking.

— Robert A. Pierce

Cultural and Social History
Appuhn blazes a trail where others may very usefully follow.

— Paul Warde

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801892615
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/9/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 565,151
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Appuhn is an assistant professor of history and environmental studies at New York University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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