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Firewood and Charcoal Consumption in Madrid during Eighteenth Century and Its Effects on Forest Landscapes

  • Javier Hernando OrtegoEmail author
  • Gonzalo Madrazo García de Lomana
Chapter
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 6)

Abstract

The fuelling system of Early Modern Madrid was dominated by the charcoal, since neither coal nor peat were available for urban consumption. According to our estimations, the total fuel-wood consumed in the city increased from c. 170.000 t to 200.000 t between 1750 to 1800, so it was necessary a forest surface of about 117.000 - 138.000 ha in order to produce such amount of firewood.

To understand the effects of Madrid’s fuel consumption on surrounding forests, we make a distintion between the different charcoal supply areas, taking into account on the one hand the different natural characteristics, and on the other hand the features related with social and economic structures in rural areas.

To conclude, we highlight how this way of exploitation is visible in today`s forest landscapes, taking into account that charcoaling has been a continuous activity until mid-twenty century. Nonetheless, the production of the fuel consumed in Madrid was, in general terms, a sustainable activity. The strongest evidence for this affirmation is that for centuries charcoal came from the same areas and, as Madrid’s population increased, charcoal began to be produced in areas further away in an extensive process.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Forest Landscape Fuel Supply Forest Formation Woodland Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Hernando Ortego
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gonzalo Madrazo García de Lomana
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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