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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Land Use History in the basin of the Dniestr

The article: Land Use History was published in the book ROTH MECHTHILD, NOBIS RALF, STETSYUK VALENTYN, KRUGLOV IVAN (2008): Transformation Processes in West Ukraine. Concepts for a Sustainable Land Use. Weissensee Verlag. Berlin. pp. 321-


Even in historical times, man had a decisive impact on nature, which resulted in the creation of new ecosystem types. This applies especially to the river landscape of Central-Eastern Europe like the Upper Dnister Basin, where historic land use systems often created a fine-scaled mosaic of natural, semi-natural, and anthropo-zoogenic habitats. This diverse landscape pattern was connected with the occurrence of a variety of species which often became rare during recent times in intensively used cultural landscapes. The analysis of historical land use helps to reveal the control factors for the occurrence of plant and animal species.

The residents of mountain areas are well known for their conservatism. All mountain dwellers change their habits and way of life very reluctantly. All the more, they don’t venture to give up well-proven methods of traditional land use systems which can risk yield reduction. Peasants in Western Ukraine have similar psychology therefore, when developing models, one has to give in consideration to the traditional cereals and methods of land-use. On the other hand, land use history can help to understand the causes of landscape changes that took place as a consequence of specific methods of land use. The elimination of causes of undesirable changes in the landscape has to be one of the main tasks in developing concrete models [KONOLD et al.(1994): Agricultural Dominated Landscapes: pp.41-42].

The land use in the Middle and Upper Dnister catchment in prehistoric times (3rd millennium BC – the 8th century AD)

The settlement of the Dnister valley by Homo sapiens began in the Late Paleolithic period about 50,000 years ago. Ancient people put their stands on the sun-exposed slopes of the valleys of the Dnister and its tributaries. The economic activity of man has a practical character in those times. Subsistence was provided by hunting large mammals such as mammoth, bison, reindeer, etc, fishing and gathering of fruits, berries, and eatable plants. There were good conditions for such life in this area. The mixed forests with grasslands grew up on the high banks of the rivers, the river terraces were covered by meadows where wild animals grazed [MATSKEVYJ & PANAKHYD 2001]. But during the Mesolithic Age (10,000 – 6000 B.C.) there were great changes in the earliest economy of the whole of Europe:

With improving climatic conditions forest areas expanded, hunting became more difficult, and this deterioration in the food basis created an intensive for cultivation of plants and breeding of domestic animals. Fishing greatly increased in importance… [SAHRHAGE & LUNDBECK 1992: 8]

The Dnister river was very rich on fish such as sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus), stirlet (Acipenser ruthenus), pike-perch (Lucioperca stellatus), stellate surgen (Lucioperca), bream (Abramis brama) and other, therefore fishing had the special significance for the dwellers of the Dnister valley. The highest density of Mesolithic settlements has been discovered in the basin of the lower and the middle Dnister downstream of the tributary Tlumach. Ancient people settled in numerous caves on the high banks of rivers. They usually chose sun-exposed slopes. The basin of the upper Dnister was sparsely populated till the beginning of the Neolith. [MATSKEVYJ & PANAKHYD 2001, 9]. During the Neolithic Era the importance of fishing was losing some of its significance as a result of the development of agriculture and stock-farming (SAHRHAGE & LUNDBECK 1992: 14). The first known farming culture in the basin of the Dnister was the Trypilla-Cucuteni culture which arose here about 6,000 years ago. The creators of this culture cultivated wheat, barley, millet, spelt, and pea. They tilled soil with mattocks made of horn sometimes equipped with a stone tip. Such primitive implements forced people to settle on loess soils and they had to change their settlements from time to time because the soil was exhausted very fast. Trypillians managed livestock as well. Wild horned-cattle and swine as the native species in the steppes of South Ukraine dominated among the livestock. Bulls were used as draft animals for tilling with primitive ploughs which replaced the mattock. The area of the extension of the Trypilla culture extended to the rivers Hnyla Lypa and the Bystrytsia, the tributaries of the upper Dnister and further to the north [ZLUPKO S. (1995): 24. The natural landscape started to change into a cultural landscape on this territory. Tilled fields and permanent settlements were the first elements of the cultural landscape. Archaeological remains of the Trypilla culture on fields located next to the forest, testify that Trypillians already used the slash-and-burn method of tilling.

Since the end of the 3rd mill. B.C. the penetration of cattle-breeding nomads to the basin of the Dnister began from the left bank of the Dnepr. In search of pastures, some of them seized the grounds of the Trypillians and a greater part moved further to the northwest to the Central Europe. Those nomads were creators of the well-known Corded Ware culture. There is an opinion that they were of Indo-European origin, but recent studies show that they were of Turkic origin [STETSYUK VALENTYN, 1998]. The Trypilla culture declined and agriculture lost its dominance. At this time the nomadic cattle-breeding had the greater share of production than the settled agriculture as it could better utilize the resources of the steppe. With the increase of the population, the reverse transition to agriculture became unavoidable. During almost five centuries nomads assimilated the sparse native population of fishermen and hunters in the area of the middle and upper Dnister and turned to a settled way of living. The archaeological findings of the Komariv culture of the Middle Bronze Age, which developed on this territory, advised that tsedentary agriculture and cattle breeding formed the basis of theeconomy of the local population. Furthermore, some inhabitants began to produce salt in numerous salterns on the Carpathian slopes [KRUSHELNYCKA L., 1993, 8]. The salt became a commodity.

Due to good natural-climatic conditions, the population of this region increased and this caused huge clear-cuttings in the forests for the extension of arable land. During the drainage at present time in Staryj Sambir and Mykolayiv districts huge remains of felled forest were detected. The overpopulation also caused a movement of some local tribes to the east and the southeast as far as the present Ukrainian steppes. These people, known as Scythians, cultivated three species of wheat also barley, ray, millet, lentil, vetch, rape, and flax. They raised cows, swine, horses, goats, sheep, and hens. At first, people used the so-called slash-and-burn method in agriculture. Sowing out 80-100 kg of grain per 1 ha, they could get a yield of up to 25 metric hundredweights during the first 3-4 years. But this method required a lot of manpower. People had to work hard for 50 days to burn 1 ha of forest and to prepare the soil for sowing [ZLUPKO S. 1995]. Shared work at forest stubbing became the basis for the future communal system of agriculture which was ubiquitous in the Middle Ages. Scythians established contact with the population of Greek colonies on the North Coast of the Black Sea. These colonies provided their parent states in Greece with grain, fish, and salt. One of these colonies, Tiras, was founded at the right bank of the lower Dnister around the 6th century B.C. It is clear that this colony could not produce enough grain or salt alone and therefore traded with the nearest non-Greek population. But trade relations existed also with the inhabitants of the banks of the middle and the upper Dnister as this river was a part of the great water-land route which connected the Black and the Baltic Seas. The local population adopted more progressive methods of land use, in particular the two-field system [ZLUPKO S. 1995]. There were some other cities on the map of Ptolemaues (2 cent. A.D.), which were located near to the banks of the Dnister, – Carsidava, Trifulum, Clepidava, Maelonium, Carrodunum, and others. They could be trade centers of the region.

The situation of land-use during the first Ukrainian state. (the 9th century AD – 1349

Since the end of I mill. B.C. and during the first mill A.D. the economic development of the middle and the upper Dnister region was constrained by perpetual migrations in different directions, though the sedentary population always stayed there. The numerous names of villages, which remain here since the Scythian times, confirm this but the ethical affiliation of the population was changed. Old agricultural traditions were also kept. The population of the Middle Dnister catchment cultivated grain, raised livestock and to a lesser extent, hunted wild animals. Archaeological data show that the main crop was millet. Moreover, wheat, barley, and flax were cultivated. Cows, swine, and goats prevailed in the live-stock breeding. It is interesting that hunting had great importance only in some areas. The bones of elk, wild boar, deer, roe, bear, fox, marten, otter, and beaver were often found in great amounts on places of settlements of the 9th and 10th centuries [ZLUPKO, 1995, 48-53]. The stable economic life began with the formation of the Galician-Volynian Principality. During a short time, the Principality became one of the richest and most developed parts of old Kyiv Rus’. Since 1141 it was governed by independent princes (later kings). The social structure of the state was complicated, there were three forms of slavery in Rus’ [KAISER, 1991, 51]. The rural population was in several subordination to their feudal lords and had to pay them taxes in kind. The basis of the economy was formed by agriculture, cattle breeding, and apiculture. The slash-and-burn method of tilling has been used everywhere since the entry of the forested zone by man and was kept in countries where people had enough land. Driving power was done by man or horse, soil was tilled by wooden harrow and cereals were mown by half-scythe or sickle. But the two- or three-field rotation was being applied already in densely populated places. The communal system of agriculture meant aggregation of all peasant holdings to be divided into two or three fields which were rotated biennially or triennialy between crops and fallow. In the 11th –13th century, such agriculture was used almost everywhere, in mountain regions it was kept here and there even till the 20th century. Ancient Slavs didn’t know an iron plow and were tilled by a light wooden plow (called “sokha” or “ralo”). The plow was borrowed from the Germanic tribes together with its name (Ukr. pluh). The “ralo” was kept in some places of Ukraine till the 18th century [ZLUPKO S. 1995, p. 38-39]. The productivity of grain crops was very low. After estimates, the yield from 1 ha was hardly more than 5-6 metric hundredweights, but each large family (the kin) had up to 10-12 ha of soil according to local conditions. If the three-field system was used, the entire harvest reached 40-50 metric hundredweights, which was sufficient for a family, even when the greater part of the harvest was delivered to a feudal lord [TOLOCHKO P, 1996, 170-171]. The economy of the state was also enriched by its geographical situation as an important area of communication between Central and East Europe. The state carried trade not only with adjacent countries but also with Germany, Bulgaria, Byzantium, Italy, and France [KOROPEC’KI, 1995, p. 26]. The trading commodities were salt, cattle, grain, honey, wax, and skin. One of the main trade routes was the waterway on the Dnister. There were some harbors on the Dnister, among them – the city of Halych, the capital of the principality, the cities of Vasyliv, Onut, Bakota, Ushytsia, and others. The princes, since 1254 King Danylo (1201 -1264) and his successors tried to develop the economy of the country inviting German craftsmen and merchants as well as Jewish financiers to reform the administrative and social system.

The Tatar invasion interrupted the successful development of the country. Though the Galician-Volinian principality, in contrast to other Russian states, preserved its independence, the fight against Tatars took much strength and distracted from the state-building process. The east and southeast trade-ways were closed by Tatar hordes, their robber attacks inside the country demolished the rural economy. Finally, the exhausted state fell under the rule of Poland after about a century-long fight for survival against Tatars, Poland, and Hungary.

Under Polish rule (1349 – 1772)

Poland aimed to unify all its dominions, its own and Ukrainian estates. King Jagello introduced “the Polish Law” in Galicia in 1425-1434. This simplified the expansion of Polish noblemen (the szlachta) to the east. The szlachta became a “royal privilege” for land property together with the inhabitants. The rest of the land belonged to the state and the church. The lands of the lord (dominical) and that of the peasants (rustical) were often not divided into separate areas, the land was cultivated in corporation. The obligation of the peasants was to labor services with draft animals or manually (RUDOLF, 1991, 345). On locations where grain export to West Europe through the rivers San and Vistula became profitable, new forms of agriculture began to develop, such as “the folwarks” (from German “Vorwerk” – a small yard or estate). The peasants, deprived of freedom and the right of land-owning, ought to work at a folwark one or two days a week and provide taxes in kind and in money. But they had a right to change to another lord after paying all taxes and ransom at the end of a year. The folwarks displayed an already more developed form of land use. A wooden plow, which dominated in peasant’s estates, was substituted by plows with iron colter. Draft animals were mainly oxes and very seldom horses. To increase productivity, organic fertilizer began to be used but yields still remained very low. Sowed out 100 kg grain gave usually 200-300 kg harvest (SERCZYK W. A., 1990, 60-61). The mountain territories, especially the area around the present town of Turka, stayed almost unpopulated still the second half of the 15th century. The expanded forests were full of wild animals which are rare or completely disappeared nowadays. There were numerous herds of aurochs (Ukr. “tur”) in the mountains whose names stayed in local toponymy until the present day: Turka, Tur’je, Turetske, etc. The other place names derived from the names of other animals and birds: Wovche (from Ukr vovk "wolf"), Zubritsa (from Ukr zubr "bison"), Losinets (from Ukr los' "elk"), Bibrka (from Ukr bibr "beaver"), Sokolyky (from Ukr sokil "falcon"), Busovys’ko (from Ukr bus'ro "stork") etc. The great lord Spytko of Melsztyn gained the Sambir region as a reward for battle merits from King Wladyslaw Jagello in 1390. He founded many new villages and renewed some old ones. Another royal knight, the Romanian Woloch, who came to the king’s service with many others from Transylvania, received the region of Turka from the Hungarian boundary along the river Stryj as a fief in 1431. This license obliged Woloch or his successors to stand by the king at each military expedition with four archers and ten horses. The kingdom of this Woloch multiplied and split very much during the next hundred years so that new noble families of Ilnycki, Jaworski, Komarnycki, Matkovski, Hoszowski, Wolczanski, and many others had their property in the newly arisen villages of Ilnyk, Javora, Komarnyky, Matkiv, Hosziw, Vovcze, etc. All these possessions were confirmed by royal licenses during this period. But in 1539, Queen Bona dispossessed some nobles as their villages were recognized as royal possessions because the border region given to the lord Woloch was not distinct enough. In such a way, the impoverished and multiplied szlachta became poorer since this time. Queen Bona aimed to populate the area and manage the regions of Sambir and Turka in order to become more benefit from these territories. At this time many new villages were founded, among them: 1511 – Rozluch, 1519 – Verkhniy Luzhok, 1532 – Lopushanka Khomyna, 1553 – Zhukotyn, Shimiach, Lybokhora, 1559 – Rosokhach, 1561 – Yavoriv, Smerichka, 1566 – Moldavsko, 1567 – Dnistryk Dubovy and many others.

Adjacent to pastured areas, the colonization of the country was realized by Ukrainian, Polish, and Romanian people. The Romanian settlers established the so-called “Romanian Law” which was used by all dwellers of new villages. It was more indulgent than the law for subjects of private owners and gave the inhabitants permission with conditions on which the village had to be founded. The task of the local headman (soltys) was to draw new settlers from other countries into his village, attracted by more freedom and safety, and ready to make an effort for the development of the country. The landscape transformation in the Carpathians started. The settlers had to cut forests, build houses, lay roads, sow corn on soil fertilized by ashes, to raise sheep and pasture on mountain meadows. Besides that, they overcame natural elements, defended fields, harvest, and livestock from wild animals (bears, wolves, lynxes, wild boar, and bison). The settlers paid quit rent to the royal treasury and some part of it was given to the soltys. They were free from serfdom except three to six days a year when they had to work for the soltys. During wartime, each village had to supply one or more cavaliers on good horses and under full arms for the royal army. Besides royal possessions, there was also private property in the mountain part of the region of Turka and Sambir. The number of royal villages in the district of Turka was 55, and 19 villages were in private possession. Villages and grounds were usually given by the King as private property to royal knights often of Romanian origin. At first, the dwellers of these villages lived after “the Romanian Law” but in time they forfeited a great part of their rights. The greater part of the noblemen became so poor that in 1657 half of them served in the royal army without horse and were often armed only with bow or sabre. Gradually these “szlachta” often became poor as ordinary peasants but they always had the right to take part in the election of the King and their descendants remember their noble origin until the present time. The quantity of inhabitants of noble origin in the districts Turka, Stary Sambir, Sambir, Skole, Stryj was about 100000 at the beginning of 20 century (PULNAROWYCZ W., 1929, 133).

The basis of the economy was formed by cattle breeding. In 1729 Turka received its town charter. Here two-day fairs were held nine times a year. Turka as the only town in the region carried out a great trade with cattle, yarn, and wool. The agriculture aimed to satisfy the local needs for food, some part of corn was exported to Prussia by waterway of the river San and Vistula. The peasants cultivated mainly oats and barley and to a lesser extent rye, wheat, and pea. In 1765 prices were like this: 1 kg of oats cost 4 groshes, 1 hen 7 groshes, plough and harrow 1 zloty and 15 groshes. A worker could earn in one day 6 groshes (Ib., p. 68). In 1785 yield of oats and barley was mere 11-11,5 metric hundredweights per 1 ha, besides that the barley had a share of only 1/12 part of the entire harvest in the region of Turka. The whole land property of the family of lord Kalinowski in Turka region – about 1,200 ha – was divided in such proportion: forests – 55%, arable land – 25%, pastures – 13%, meadows – 6%, vegetable garden – 1%. Peasant’s grounds of 2,010 ha were shared like this: arable land – 55%, pastures 39%, meadows – 4%, vegetable garden 2%. The churchly property contained a ground of 39 ha (Ib., 73).

The economy of natural produce dominated in Galicia everywhere, on landlord as well as on peasant estates. The peasants used the opportunity for earnings as soon as their immediate needs were satisfied and even landlords managed without money and not for money (BUDZYNOVSKI, 1894, p. 48).

Austrian reform attempts (1772 – 1918)

After the partition of Poland in 1772 Galicia was gained by the Austrian Habsburg Empire. This land displayed a striking example of a “late-developed” economy at this time. The government under Emperor Josef II attempted to improve economic development by reforming feudal relations between landlords and peasants and inviting German colonists to the land. The reforms bear little fruit, maybe because of that the feudal survivals were not completely abolished. The colonists economized more effectively than the local population but their number could not be great because of the agrarian overpopulation of the land. The difference in farming between Germans and Ukrainians was considerable. Ukrainian writer J. Holovackyj described this difference in 1841 quite in detail and especially so:

A German, settling down in the forest, started at once to cut down the forest and in a few years the thicket turned into clean fields. A Ukrainian cuts down a tree primarily for household stores up hay, and herds livestock as if it is pity for him to destroy nature by force. He willingly cultivates a plot of the forest for beekeeping and a hut. If the vegetables come up well, the German sells them when they are fully ripe. For this, he has a penny ready but a Ukrainian does not do this… Usually, a Ukrainian is easily pleased by having his own bread and salt (HOLOVACKYJ Ya., 1993, 24, 86-88).

Many scholars pointed out the importance of folk psychology and mentality in land use. In the Galician context, these factors were closely tied with other peculiarities of local circumstances which together caused the whole backwardness of this area. Besides the semi-colonial nature of the partition of Poland one explains this backwardness by internal factors, such as “the archaic social structure, with a nobility adopting antiurban attitudes, the lack of a middle class, and the conservatism of the minds and practices of peasants” (RUDOLF R.L., 1991, 341).

The labor services of peasants were finally abolished in 1848. The peasants got the opportunity to spend more time for their own land, and more production might have been expected, but Ukrainian lands (East Galicia, Bukovina) remained the most backward provinces of Austria for a long time. The agricultural productivity of these lands remained the lowest of all provinces (except potato and vegetables) though the soil was better here than in Central Europe (KOROPECKI, 1995, 26; BUDZYNOVSKI, 1896, 10-11). The yield capacity for different cultures (for example wheat – 8.46, ray – 5.97, barley – 9.5, out – 7.4, potatoes – 106.3, maize –12.3, metric hundredweights per 1 ha) was 1.4-1.5 times less than in Czechia. R. Rudolf explains the situation like this: “the newly liberated peasants had what economists call a backward bending supply curve, i.e. less labor was carried out as income increased or in this case as a living could be improved on his own land and he had the satisfaction of working for himself” (RUDOLF R.L., 1991, 350). The highest productivity was achieved by cultivating potato which was introduced like clover during Josefine's efforts. The potato rapidly became the main component in the diet of the peasants and it was cultivated with a special persistence. The yield of potatoes like other vegetables was higher in East Galicia than in other regions of Austria. For example the yield of the cabbage was three times higher than in Czechia. It could be explained by the fact that cabbage and partly potato were not cultivated on the field but in gardens (BUDZYNOVSKI, 1896, 21). Some improvements were achieved in the cattle-breeding too: “The number of pigs increased from about 675 in 1850 to over a million in 1900 and to almost two million in 1910” (RUDOLF, R.L. 1991, 352) The number of horned cattle for an agrarian unit was almost 50% higher than in Austria (GOLDENSTEIN, 1940, 36), although the productivity of livestock was lower than in other European countries (yield of milk of one cow was three times less than in Germany and the average weight of a pig was twice less than in France). The family-centred peasant economy has been quite contented with low productive livestock that required less forage. There were big problems with herding the livestock. Earlier the peasants had old right of the subservience that means they could use the pastures and forests belonging to the landlords but after the reform of 1848 the subservience was abolished as the pastures and forests became private. Only the third part of the whole pastured area could be used as the common peasant’s pasture. At the end of 20th century 8,8% of Galician area was used as pasture, 11,77% as hayland, 26,95% as forest and 45,78% was arable land (BUDZYNOVSKI, 1894, 29).

The density of rural population in East Galicia was very high, higher than in any other area of Europe and counted about 80% of the whole population of the land. During the second part of 19th century the population of East Galicia increased at 60%. The constant increase of population resulted in the fragmentation of peasant holdings as parents divided land for their successors. The children of peasants in East Galicia were always reluctant to leave the land as they thought they were meant for being peasants, continuers of the family holdings and traditions for ever. The poorest population of Galicia took part in emigration but the share was proportionally less compared to other regions of the empire. The number of holdings in 1820 was 527,740; the number rose to 584,625 in 1857 and to over a million in 1902. The land was often held in various fields in different locations, often divided in long strips, sometimes 3m x 3km. The holdings with less than 2 ha made up 42.69% of the whole number of holdings and the holdings with 2-5 ha 37.22% in 1902 (RUDOLF R.L. 1991, 347, 364; ZLUPKO, 1992, 53). The connection of the peasants to the land was so strong that they prefered to limit their physiological necessities but didn’t leave their small plots. This was the most important hindrance for the concentration of small holdings (BUDZYNOVSKI, 1896, 120). Nevertheless, till 1901 the number of holdings with an area of 2-5 ha rose to 37,4% of the total number of holdings. The drainage of the boggy area between Sambir and Zhuravno, which began under the governmental support in 1849, emigration of the poorer population since the end of century, and selling of holdings for debts assisted partially to increase the number of holdings.

The second Polish dominion (1921 – 1939)

In consequence of the collapse of Austrian empire, Galicia fell under Polish ruling once more after unsuccessful fight of Ukrainians for an own independent state. The economic life of East Galicia for the next 20 years can be characterized as a throwback to the economics of the Middle Age. In comparing with pre-war time, the number of very small holdings has been risen. In 1921 the holdings with area less 2 ha were listed in Lviv region with 52% and even 68% in Stalislav region. 20,4% of the whole tillage has been used by peasants as vegetablegardens for own needs mostly for growing potato. In 1927 43.8% of estates had no horse, 36,2% had one horse. Sometimes cows were even used for tilling and manual sowing often occurred. Polish periodicals informed that seeding-machine and cultivators disappeared from use and the peasants had no money to buy a plough, they had to revert to old wooden socha. The tillages were divided into stripes, some holdings had a total area of up to 12 single plots (Goldenstein 1940, pp. 85-196). It is clear that the peasants had no possibility for mechanized cultivation but even about 30% of the landlords used no machines. The mineral fertilizers were not used though the suitable deposits has been found in the middle Dnister catchment. Agronomists were practically absent in villages. The most efficient branches were as before livestock, bird breeding, apiculture. Ukrainian economists of socialist persuasion saw the recovery from the recession in the “cooperation”, that were organisations for a financial assistance (Koberskyj 1929, pp.19-33).

Soviets solve and create problems (1944 – 1991)

The ”cooperation” came, but in another way. It was brought by the Soviets. At first in 1939, in 1944 finally, East Galicia was included in the Soviet Union. Little by little, till 1950 all private estates were joined in kolkhoses (collective farms). The kolkhoses had some possibility to use agricultural machinery and mineral fertilizer. The productivity began to rise but not much and not persistantly. Purchase prices were so low and taxes so high that kolkhoses and their members had no incentive for work. The Soviet dominion appeared with the priority for development of industry and detriment of agriculture. But the gap between industry and agriculture became more obvious and the Soviet government was forced to pass new laws concerning the agriculture after Stalin’s death. Purchase prices were raised and taxes from private plots were reduced. But these measures gave only minimum results. Agriculture was developed only extensive. In comparison with 1940, the industry production were doubled in 1960 but yielding capacity rises only to 25% in whole Ukraine (Zlupko 1995, pp. 61-65). The peculiarity of Galicia was that investments from Moscow were too low proportional to the quantity of population in this country and to local production potential. A bigger part of manpower like before had to stay in rural Galician areas (15,8-23,7%). People were separated from the common economy and worked mainly on private plots of land (Koropec’ki 1995, pp. 73, 94). Each village family had such plots at their own house in dimensions up to 0.6 ha. Family members worked very intensively on own soil by hand. For the whole of Ukraine, the domestic economy produced 53.2% of meat, 53.1% of milk, 85% of eggs, and 21.2% of wool (Zlupko 1995, p.65). These figures were bigger in Galicia. One can see that the mentality of the peasant household remains the same as in Austrian times. Even the peasant’s children who went studying in cities or working in factories returned to their parents villages to work on family plots every weekend. Moreover, many city dwellers usually buy small plots of land (0,12-0,2 ha) to grow vegetables as additional subsistence.


The review of land-use history shows that the tradition of tilling small plots of land was dominant in the Dnister region during at least the two last centuries. This tradition can be explained by the historical and psychological peculiarity of the local population. One can presume that land use on small holdings will be preferred by peasants in the Carpathians in the future. Such land use can provide the production of ecological food and combined with agrotourism form a new economic perspective for the population.


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