Early examples of deforestation

In fertility Cyprus is not inferior to any one of the islands, for it produces both good wine and good oil, and also a sufficient supply of grain for its own use. And at Tamassus there are abundant mines of copper, in which is found chalcanthite and also the rust of copper, which latter is useful for its medicinal properties.

Eratosthenes says that in ancient times the plains were thickly overgrown with forests, and therefore were covered with woods and not cultivated. The mines helped a little against this, since the people would cut down the trees to burn the copper and the silver, and the building of the fleets further helped, since the sea was now being navigated safely, that is, with naval forces. But because they could not thus prevail over the growth of the timber, they permitted anyone to cut out the timber and to keep the land thus cleared as his own property and exempt from taxes.

Strabo, Geography , XIV, 6

Original language: Ancient Greek

Time of action: 1 century BCE

Reliability: Heard from trustful direct witnesses

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