This desiccation is partly attributable to the unrestricted felling of wood practised for many centuries by the inhabitants.
177); they have indeed been greatly reduced in comparatively modern times by indiscriminate timber-felling, and though serious attempts at reafforestation have been made by the government, much remains to be done.
This danger has been increased, as elsewhere in Italy, by indiscriminate timber-felling on the higher mountains without provision for re-afforestation, though considerable oak, beech, elm and pine forests still exist and are the home of wolves, wild boars and even bears.
Especial mention should be made of the ceremony of purifying the grove, which was held to be defiled by the felling of trees, the breaking of a bough or the presence of any iron tools, such as those used by the lapidary who engraved the records of the proceedings on stone.
The best time of the year for felling timber is in midsummer or midwinter, when the sap of the tree is at rest; it is not desirable to cut timber in the spring or autumn.