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The Questions of Property in Forests in Order of Their Conservation in Russia of the 18th Century

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Е.М. Lupanova

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The article is based on literature sources and first introduced in the special literature the ar-chive documents that help to reveal the problems arising from the changes of the govern-ment’s position in the question of property in forests. The article focuses on the establishing process of the state monopoly on forests during Peter the Great’s reign when the ship-building was developed active and the changing situation at the 18th century. The attempts to solve these problems by the legislation improvement and the projects that were left unreal-ized are under consideration. Throughout the 18th century the question of property was the central question for the forest integrity supposed by the Russian government. However the question “who should be the concerned owner in charge” was disputable. At the beginning of the century the navy-building led to the necessity of the state control over woodland and as a result the formation of the system of legal norms and bureaucracy to implement these norms. So, the idea of the forest conservancy was appeared and started to be realized in pol-icy. But the methods of its implementation turned out to be not rather satisfactory as well as the expected results. Numerous sources testify that the illegal fellings, resource gluttony and other violations were typical for the Russian reality. So, the idea of the private owners as more effective managers unlike the officials, appeared. As a fact, the growing amount of fellings for the navy building and industrial development led to the solution of the problem of the forest conservation not only by the government. Peasants suffering from the lack of materials and firewood also came to the idea of the careful attitude to the environment. So, the forest conservancy became not only a part of the state policy, but also a part of the Rus-sian collective consciousness.


Е.М. Lupanova, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Senior Researcher


Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera), University Embankment, 3, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russia; e-mail:


forest conservancy, Russia of the 18th century, legislation, interpretation of the law, property.


1. Vedrov S.V. O lesoohranenii po russkomu pravu [Forest Protection According to the Russian Legislation]. Saint Petersburg, 1878. 2. Terinov N.I. Ocherk istorii sberezheniya lesov na Urale (XVIII – XIX vv.) [Essay on the History of Forest Conservation in the Urals (XVIII – XIX centures)]. Tr. In-ta ekologii rasteniy i zhivotnykh. Razvitie lesoobrazovatel'nogo protsessa na Urale [Proc. Institute of Ecology of Plants and Animals. Development of Forest Forming Process in the Urals]. Sverdlovsk, 1977, iss. 105. 3. Tsvetkov А.М., Tsvetkov М.А. Izmenenie lesistosti Evropeyskoy Rossii s kontsa XVII stoletiya po 1914 god [Changes of the Woodiness of the European Part of Russia Since the End of the 17th Century to 1914]. Мoscow, 1957. 4. Chubinsky V.N. Istoricheskoe ustroystvo upravleniya morskim vedomstvom v Rossii [Historical Control of the Naval Management and Administration in Russia]. Saint Petersburg, 1869. 5. Shchepetov K.N. Krepostnoe pravo v votchinakh Sheremet'evykh (1708–1885 gg.) [Serfdom in Sheremetyevs’ Patrimonies (1708-1885)]. Moscow, 1947.

The Questions of Property in Forests in Order of Their Conservation in Russia of the 18th Century


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