The Enchanted Forests

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5262/#q=Prokudin+Gorskii
Prokudin Gorskii, 1910 Cordon (Guardhouse) in the Forest

Back in the early 20th century, Russia had a vast area of forests located around the Ural Mountains. Forests were a prized possession to the Russians as it offered them a vast amount of resources. They were also believed to have healing powers and helped people with tuberculosis by purifying the air. The log house here shown in the picture to the left was a guard point for a forester. This specific log house was owned by the man in the picture. This offered a sheltered living space for him as he hunted and cared for his privately owned section of forest. (Library of Congress, Cordon (Guardhouse) in the Forest)

Dating all the way back to the 8th century, Russia created, reformed, and built upon legislation regarding the forests and their protection. In the earlier centuries, the forests were used to hunt, fish, and gather food and resources. At the time, people had the right to use the forest however they pleased as long as they owned the land. As centuries passed, the forests began to be overused and the geographical areas that they covered began to diminish. This was mainly due to ship building and the creation of log buildings.

In the mid 19th century, an organization called the Foresters Corps was created to help ensure the protection and legal use of the forests. (Forest.ru, A History of Russian Forestry and its Leaders, chapter 1) This organization and its goals can be closely related to the National Parks Services and their forest rangers in the United States. Moving into the beginning of the 20th century, vasts amounts of exhibitions took place to survey the large forests and rivers to gain a better understanding of the untouched beauty of Russia.

The value of the Russian forests have grown over time along with the urge for their protection. These forests offered food, resources, and protection against invading enemies from the East.

Citations:

Library of Congress, September 28, 2016, https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5262/#q=Prokudin+Gorskii

Forest.ru, http://old.forest.ru/eng/publications/history/03.html

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