Deforestation in Sixteenth Century Anatolia: The Case of Hüdavendi̇gar (Bursa) Sancak
Osman Gümüşçü, Abdullah Uğur, Tülay Aygören
Keywords: Deforestation, Tahrir defters, Turkey, Anatolia, Hüdavendigar sancak
After the industrial revolution in Europa, the importance of one subject started to become particularly striking: Environmental Change. Environmental Change which has many components, has become day by day high point and investigated topic depend on growing population and needs of people. Although the results and the solutions concern all countries, research on this subject has unfortunately been limited to developed western countries. Deforestation is an important component of environmental change and it is on the agenda especially when tropical forests are discussed. Yet, forests are in danger in other region as much as tropical forests. As condition of rainfall and temperature is quite suitable in tropical region, this situation seems to be much more limited in many other regions.Deforestation is a controversial issue today particularly when tropical forests are under consideration. However, deforestation is also a vital issue in other regions of the world, and concerns not only the contemporary life but also the past that goes far back in history. Moving from this stance, this article studies the deforestation in the history of Anatolia, which hosted many peoples and civilizations throughout its history. The subject is handled with a close study of various deforestation records archived during the Ottoman period. The article studies the case of Hüdavendigar sancak that was located near Istanbul, which was rich with forests that could renovate themselves and inhabited great populations throughout history. In this respect, the conclusions derived from the case of Hüdavendigar sancak can be generalized for the whole of Anatolia. As understood from the Ottoman records, the increasing population and thus the increasing needs in sixteenth century Istanbul made deforestation an outstanding issue in that century. However, the subject has remained almost untouched among the academicians who benefited from the Ottoman archives. Thus, this study is the first one that handles this subject and can be taken as an introduction to deforestation in Anatolia of the Ottoman period.