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ŠUMARSKI LIST 7-8/2021 str. 37     <-- 37 -->        PDF

the official language in Dalmatia at the time. Cadastral records were obtained from State archives in Split (HR-DAST) whereas third military survey maps can be previewed through MAPIRE map portal and obtained from BEV. These sources were supplemented with 19th and early 20th century publications on Dalmatian woodland history, mostly from archived Forestry journal issues.
By the time the French conquered Dalmatia in 1805 there were already numerous reports about the poor condition of woodlands in the region. Travel accounts from the second half of the 18th century (Anonymous, 1775-1776, according to Novak, 1960; 1966; Fortis, 1774) describe Dalmatian woodlands as scarce and without properly developed trees that could be used in construction or any kind of industry. Valuable patches of forests were noted as preserved only on remote and inaccessible mountaintops in the hinterland, near Norin and Cetina rivers and on Korčula and Hvar islands, while the rest was ‘scrubland rather than forest, bushes rather than trees’ scattered in patches across the landscape (Anonymous, 1775-1776, according to Novak, 1960, p.486).
In Šibenik area much of the terrain was barren and used predominantly as pastures. Fortis (1774) wrote that landscape of the islands ‘disgusts the eye with the display of hills that are too high, too stony and naked’ (p. 169). This is because coastal villagers often kept sheep on these islands and visited them for firewood collection as soon as something grew on them (Anonymous, 1775-1776, according to Novak, 1962). Fortis (1774) reported that ‘inconsiderate brutality of the inhabitants’ was also the reason for ‘horridness and nakedness of mountains’ in the vicinity of Zlosela (modern Pirovac) (p.159).
Similar reports originated from the French administration once they took over control of Dalmatia in 1805. Among them is a circular that was issued to all Dalmatian delegates and captains of districts in which the administration expressed concern about devastated forests. They believed this devastation was of recent origin and was caused by the local people who cut wood without supervision and care for the consequences.3 Consequently they thought that what used to be a prosperous, rich region with fertile soils was rapidly transformed into a barren wasteland.4 The French administration regarded management of forests as one of its top priorities5 and wanted to restore the prosperity of the region through a vigorous fight against forest violations, strict reinforcement of regulations and reforestation.6 The Dalmatian provincial governor, the Venetian agricultural improver and chemist, Vicenzo Dandolo (1715-1819) (Fig. 2), who was appointed by Napoleon, had a special interest in Dalmatian woodlands (Grubić, 1928). Dandolo began work on the improvement of woodland management immediately after his appointment. The first nursery was established near Zadar, and more than 100,000 seedlings were ordered from Italy. Several regulations concerning the prohibition of cutting young trees, wood export and burning of fires in woodlands were also enacted. Goat keeping was perceived as a very significant problem and was tackled by steadily increasing pasture taxes in the hope of discouraging people from keeping them (Marčić, 1935; Vajda, 1954). According to Grubić (1928) Dandolo implemented serious sanctions for violators of regulations and confronted high ranking military officers who regarded forests as a free source of firewood for army. However, these efforts were not considered effective enough and Dandolo desired to find a new way to regenerate the extensive degraded forests.
One of Dandolo’s most famous legacies is the sacred grove. In modern literature they are often considered as the most valuable contribution of French woodland management in