The suppression of agricultural uses of the forests was a prerequisite for the successful introduction of sustainable wood production in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, these agricultural uses of the forests, which have been neglected for a long time, are being re-evaluated. They foster less dense and more open forest stands, which are of interest to nature conservation. In the present review paper we discuss the characteristics,extent, and intensity of historical agricultural uses of forests in Switzerland. We especially focus on the relationships between local people with entitlement rights of supply, the interests of the forestry officials, and more general processes,such as agricultural modernization and changes in the infrastructure of transportation. We also consider the ecological aspects of the resulting changes in forest structure. In the first part presented here, we focus on wood pasture and wood hay collection, both of which conflicted with wood production and with the concept of protective forests. As a third type of forest use we discuss the use of leaves and needles for fodder. In a second paper we will later review litter collecting and the temporary use of clearings in the forest as agricultural fields.

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