Controversial clumping
By BLAIKIE, Francis , 1817

A practical on the planting and management of forest timber trees, adapted to the system of farm clump planting.

Natural History, Science & Medicine
  • Author: BLAIKIE, Francis
  • Publication place: Burton-upon-Trent
  • Publisher: T. Wayte
  • Publication date: 1817.
  • Physical description: Quarto (190 by 120mm), [i]-iv, 5-48pp, minor foxing to title page, library stamp to front pastedown, modern brown cloth over boards, title in gilt.

    Collation: A-F4.
  • Inventory reference: 16025


A rare nineteenth century treatise on forestry.

In 1809, Francis Blaikie was commissioned by Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield, to “compile a plain concise treatise on the planting and management of forest timber trees, adapted to the soil and situation of his Lordship’s estates, and intended for the instruction, in that branch of rural economy, of such of his tenants as were bound by the terms of agreement, to plant and protect a certain number of forest trees on their respective farms”. Five years later, Blaikie approached his patron with a second, revised edition in the hope that he would “be permitted to lay it before the public” if Stanhope approved. After receiving approval, the work was printed and distributed among the tenantry in order to encourage a proliferation of trees across the Chesterfield estate.

The treatise itself contains advice and instruction on where to situate certain plants, the use of fences and drains, the merits and drawbacks of various trees, and how to plant and manage one’s land. Blaikie’s preferred approach is the controversial “clumping” method, which he believes has the potential to generate greater timber growth, and which he implores the tenants to consider using. He does not, however, think that all the responsibility for maintaining woodlands should be thrust upon the individual farmers. Rather, he advises that “extensive plantations can only be properly managed by persons appointed for the purpose, and paid by the landlord”, which one might read as a hint…

The present edition is extremely rare, with only seven institutional examples, and no others on the market.