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Revista Brasileira de Estudos de População
Print version ISSN 0102-3098
CABRAL, Diogo de Carvalho. Von Thünen and wood supply of pre-industrial urban centers. Rev. bras. estud. popul. [online]. 2011, vol.28, n.2, pp. 405-427. ISSN 0102-3098. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-30982011000200010.
Wood was a critical natural resource to the metabolism of pre-industrial urban centers, both as a building material and as an energy source. Due to the low value/volume ratio of wood products, wood economy was largely determined by transport costs. Thus, a theoretical framework that may be important to understanding the phenomenon of pre-industrial wood supply is Von Thünen's theory about the effect of distance from market on the spatial structure of agricultural production. The article aims to discuss the potential and limitations of this approach. At first, we present the theory of "Isolated State"; then we review the historical studies that used the theory, both as a comprehensive framework and as an empirical theory. Later, we formulate a theoretical-conceptual model in which woodcutting responds to changes in agricultural intensity, as to show the usefulness of this scheme in interpreting the case of the city of Rio de Janeiro in the late colonial period.
Keywords : Wood economy; Pre-industrial city; Von Thünen; Late-colonial Rio de Janeiro.