Not Only Subterranean Forests: Wood Consumption And Economic Development In Britain (1850-1938)
AbstractThe essential aim of this paper is to analyze wood consumption in Great Britain over the period 1850-1938. We calculate the apparent consumption of wood in Britain, taking into account both net imports of wood and the home harvest of wood. Then we develop some quantitative exercises which correlate wood consumption with GDP, and with prices of wood and iron (as an alternative material to wood). The main conclusion is that, although wood had lost its economic centrality after the energetic transition, wood consumption continued to grow in Britain both in absolute and relative terms, showing a positive elasticity to GDP superior to the unity. The decline of wood prices in the long run, the innovations affecting wood exploitation and treatment, and the fact that wood was used in a wide range of economic activities, can explain that growth in consumption. Britain faced the increase in wood demand relying almost totally on imports. Thus, although British economic development was to a great extent focussed on what has been called the “subterranean forests” of coal, simultaneously supported large tracts of foreign forest.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Asociación Española de Historia Económica in its series Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) with number 1107.
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
wood; forest history; industrialization; consumption function;
Other versions of this item:
- Iriarte-Goñi, Iñaki & Ayuda, María-Isabel, 2012. "Not only subterranean forests: Wood consumption and economic development in Britain (1850–1938)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 176-184.
- C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models
- N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
- Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply (the Commons)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-09-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2011-09-22 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2011-09-22 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
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