Recommend to your Librarian

People and Woods in Scotland

A History

Edited by T. C. Smout


This is a history of the trees, woodlands and forests of Scotland and of the people who used them. It begins 11,500 years ago when the ice sheet melted and trees such as hazel, pine, ash and oak returned, bringing with them first birds and mammals and, soon after, the first hunter-gathering humans. The book charts and explains the almost complete withdrawal of tree cover in Scotland over the following millennia, considers the revival of forests and woodlands in the twentieth century, and ends by examining the changes under way now.

The book is intended for everyone interested in Scotland's natural history. It calls on an expert in pollen analysis to examine ancient patterns of woodland distribution; on archaeologists to describe how wood was put to good purpose, especially for buildings; on historians and foresters to explain how trees and woods have been exploited and enjoyed over the ages: on ecologists to show how the histories of people and woods are inseparably linked in Scotland; and on a geographer to consider how the Scottish landscape may react to changing policy, attitudes, populations, and climate. The text is fully illustrated by maps and photographs, in colour and black and white. The book has appendixes listing the native and imported species of trees and shrubs in Scotland, and ends with an extensive guide to further reading arranged by subject.

About the Author

T. C. Smout is Historiographer Royal in Scotland.


A detailed, richly-illustrated exploration of the varied ways in which people have interacted with woodlands in enjoyable and seamless read, from which both specialists and general readers will profit.
- Landscape History
Beautifully illustrated with photographs, prints, sketches and maps, and clearly written, this is a fascinating historical introduction to the complex association between people and woods in Scotland.
- Scottish Economic and Social History
This is an attractive publication with a nice cover design, and inside the eye is drawn immediately to some excellent colour plates. In addition there are also no less than 89 black and white plates and 17 figures .. .naturalists with an interest in environmental history will find it a worthwhile addition to their library
- BSS News
This is a milestone book, with a very readable summary in non-technical language of what we know about the history of woods and their relationship with people since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago … This is a great book for people who share a fascination with woodlands and how they came to be like they are. Everyone who is interested in Scotland's woodlands should read it.
- Reforesting Scotland
The writing is lively and uniform… well illustrated… highly recommended
- Choice