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Feeding in the forest: How Scottish settlers learned to raise livestock in the old-growth forests of Upper Canada, 1814 to 1850

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In the first half of the nineteenth century, Scots were among the many European immigrants who tried to turn North American forests into productive farms. They understood how livestock were integral to this project, providing draught power, meat, leather, wool, tallow, manure and income. However they had no experience of rearing and sustaining pigs, cattle and sheep in the old growth forest of Upper Canada. They brought some skills and knowledge from Scotland, but much was learned from neighbours, books and by experimentation. Emigrant guides, agricultural reports and personal letters indicate how exactly settlers utilized woodlands to feed and shelter animals in those first few years. As Scottish immigrants became more settled, they transformed much of the forest which had initially sustained them into arable and high quality pasture and meadow.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Agricultural History Review is the leading journal for the publication of original research in all aspects of agricultural and rural history. First published in 1953, the Review reflects the diversity of approaches which are possible in rural history. Its editors welcome submissions in any aspect of the history of agriculture, rural society and rural economy over the past millennium. Whilst it is not concerned with current policy debates, it is interested in considering discussions of the historical dimensions of current problems in rural society and food supply. The Review is especially strong in British rural history, but actively seeks submissions in European and American rural history and has no bar on submissions concerning the remainder of the world. It is also the journal of record for book reviews in the discipline.

    Agricultural History Review has an international editorial board. The current editors are Professor P. S. Warde, University of Cambridge, UK, who is responsible for articles, and Dr J. R. Morgan, University of Bristol, UK, who serves as editor for book reviews. The Review is fully peer-refereed.

    Agricultural History Review is published by the British Agricultural History Society from whom personal subscriptions may be obtained.
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