Resources, Roles & Conflict: Active Resource Management in the Anglo-Norman Kingdom

Masters thesis, University of Houston, 2004, directed by Sally Vaughn.

Contrary to the view that the Middle Ages was simply a time of rapid environmental exploitation and degradation, legal documents of the Anglo-Norman kings who reigned England and Normandy 1066-1135 reveal that medieval landholders practiced conscious management of their resources. These resources centered on woodland and fisheries, both daily necessities. Because of the value of woodland products, foresters employed by the king, lay nobility, and ecclesiastics actively managed trees and vegetation. The understanding of ecosystem damage is evident in controls on fisheries, specifically restrictions on blocking the passage of fish in waterways. These conservation efforts were not aimed at environmental preservation because of altruistic motivations, but rather to preserve needed resources for economic and political ends. Because of the value of the environmental riches at their disposal, conflict was inevitable and could escalate to violence. These incidents reinforce the conclusion that the Anglo-Normans practiced a defacto active resource management.

Link to my Master’s Thesis as a pdf. Note that this was published under my prior name, Dolores Wilson

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