Pruned trees and bocage have been shaped by farming societies who practised polyculture based on cattle farming, within the framework of an economy, which no longer exists, founded on manual labour. Wood was for working, heating, marking limits, fencing and making barriers, fodder and shelter for animals. These pollarded oak, hornbeam, ash, willow and other species were useful for farmers and for rural society in general. Pruning techniques linked to their functions (Dumont, 2007; Javelle, 2007; Lizet, 1984; Luginbühl and Toublanc, 1998 and 2003; Trivière, 1991) have produced original, graphic and skeletal forms, still easily visible in winter. They tell an economic, technical and social
Figure 1.1 Rennes and Angers, two French towns in the bocage of the West
story, in France and on a wider scale in Europe (Austad, 1988; Dagley and Burman, 1996; Green, 1996; Muir, 2000).