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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Conflict and negotiation: management of forest commons in seventeenth-century Northern Finland

Starlander, Jakob

Abstract

The seventeenth century was a time when large economic transformations had direct consequences on people's everyday lives. Increased economic pressure was put on rural populations, which affected their management of the resources that they owned in common. This paper examines how peasant communities managed commonly owned forests in Finland during the seventeenth century. The focus is placed on North Ostrobothnia, where large-scale tar production and widespread timber cutting took place to meet the growing need of European states for forest products. Through the study of district court protocols, this article analyses how peasant communities responded to and coped with the new economic climate of the period while local authorities enforced royally sanctioned restrictions and outside interest groups raised demands on what the peasantry could provide. Consequently, the peasantry formalised previously informal rules, regulated cutting activities in relation to the taxable capacity of the peasant households, and re-established borders, which offset privatisation.

Keywords

Finland; Sweden; 17th century; commons; forests

Published in

Scandinavian Economic History Review
2021, Volume: 69, number: 2, pages: 177-194

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economic History
    History

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03585522.2020.1789732

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/109215