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Wilderness and Political Ecology: Aboriginal Influences and the Original State of Nature

Demonstrates that native people were active managers of their surroundings, causing changes so extensive that the anthropogenic environment has long been viewed as the natural state of the American ecosystem

By: Charles E Kay(Editor), Randy T Simmons(Editor)

342 pages, illustrations

University of Utah Press

Hardback | Sep 2002 | #223294 | ISBN: 0874807190
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £40.95 $53/€46 approx

About this book

Environmental Law and Philosophy often assume the existence of a fundamental state of nature: before the arrival of Columbus the Americas were a wilderness untouched by human hand, teeming with wildlife and almost void of native peoples. In Wilderness and Political Ecology Charles Kay and Randy Simmons state that this natural view of pre-European America is scientifically unsupportable.

Wilderness and Political Ecology brings together scholars from a variety of fields as they seek to demonstrate that native people were originally more numerous than was once thought and that they were not conservationists in the current sense of the term. Rather, native peoples took an active part in managing their surroundings and wrought changes so extensive that the anthropogenic environment has long been viewed as the natural state of the American ecosystem.

"Poses significant issues and brings together an impressive constellation of researchers and data."
– Mark Raab, California State University, Northridge


Preface ~ Charles E. Kay and Randy T. Simmons

1. Prehistoric Extinctions: In the Shadow of Man ~ Paul S. Martin
2. Evolutionary Theory, Conservation, and Human Environmental Impact ~ Michael S. Alvard
3. Pre-Columbian Human Impact on California Vertebrates: Evidence from Old Bones and Implications for Wilderness Policy ~ Jack M. Broughton
4. Depletion of Prehistoric Pinniped Populations along the California and Oregon Coasts: Were Humans the Cause? ~ William R. Hildebrandt and Terry L. Jones
5. Post-Columbian Wildlife Irruptions in California: Implications for Cultural and Environmental Understanding ~ William L. Preston
6. The Role of Prehistoric Peoples in Shaping Ecosystems in the Eastern United States: Implications for Restoration Ecology and Wilderness Management ~ Thomas W. Neumann
7. Aboriginal Use of Fire: Are There Any "Natural" Plant Communities? ~ Gerald W. Williams
8. Are Ecosytems Structured from the Top-Down or Bottom-Up? A New Look at an Old Debate ~ Charles E. Kay
9. Afterword: False Gods, Ecological Myths, and Biological Reality ~ Charles E. Kay

References Cited

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Charles Kay is adjunct assistant professor of political science at Utah State University. Randy Simmons is professor and chair of the department of political science at Utah State University

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