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Economy, Landscape and Society in La Castagniccia (Corsica) Since the Late Eighteenth Century
P. J. Perry
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
No. 41 (Jun., 1967), pp. 209-222
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/621337
Page Count: 14
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Depopulation has proceeded further in this area, once the richest and most densely settled part of the island, than elsewhere in Corsica; only in two central (and now remote) cantons do the chestnut forests which gave the region its name survive extensively. A land-use map of 1792, the occupational census of 1818, and parish registers allow the course of economic and demographic decline to be followed in these two cantons. In Piedicroce, the traditional economy united craft industry and chestnut monoculture; in La Porta, industry was less important and agriculture more varied. The former economy proved more vulnerable in the face of nineteenth-century economic and technical developments, most of the natural increase of the population leaving the district from at least early in the century, and total population declining from about 1850. La Porta absorbed its natural increase into its less vulnerable economy, and decline began only in the 1880s. 'Ink disease' and the tannic acid industry may have contributed to this decline, but to what extent is uncertain. Except where once cultivated land has been abandoned, depopulation has little affected the landscape. Villages, to which former residents commonly return from the main-land for the summer, and the chestnut groves are almost intact. But the traditionally strong ties binding the emigrant to his native village are weakening; perhaps tourism will enable further economic if not demographic decline to be halted.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers © 1967 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)