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Chronique d'une fin annoncée. La disparition de la forêt usagère au XIXème siècle. Etude des droits d'usage forestiers dans les Vosges

Abstract : By deciding during the 19th century to abolish traditional rights of use to the forest, governmental authorities unilaterally decided to put an end to an ancestral way of life among the rural population. When proprietors began to see their forests as a resource to be exploited the traditional free use of an earlier time gave way to a stricter and stricter regulation of users that culminated in the 1827 Forest Code. Characterised by the predominance of wooded spaces - which for the most part belonged to the State - the Vosges is the French department which had the greatest extent of communes usagères. The authorities therefore concentrated their efforts in this region in order to free the forests from the traditional rights of use seen as hindrances to the commercial exploitation of this primary resource during the industrial revolution. But the State did not accomplish that easily. Before putting its new forestry policy into effect, the government was first forced to carry out a double census of rights of use in 1804 and again in 1827. Faced with authorities who clearly intended to put an end to these practises, the communes of the Vosges region reacted and brought their cases before the courts. Although these actions did push some jurisdictions to create a mixed system of usage rights, the Vosges communities only succeeded in delaying the inevitable. Starting in the mid 1840s the State began forcing the users of the forest into the procedure of cantonnement, thus doing away with the traditional usage and compensating that with a share of the property in the forest. The State proceeded differently concerning traditional pasturing rights in the forest. Aware of the evolution of the agricultural world, and of the growing number of peasants leaving the land during the 19th century, the State simply decided to wait for the extinction of these rights rather than pay for them as the Forest Code allowed.
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Aurélien Tavella. Chronique d'une fin annoncée. La disparition de la forêt usagère au XIXème siècle. Etude des droits d'usage forestiers dans les Vosges. Droit. Université de Lorraine, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012LORR0207⟩. ⟨tel-01749254⟩

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