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Discovering the Chesapeake: The History of an Ecosystem

Edited By: Philip D Curtin, Grace S Brush and George W Fisher

385 pages, B/w plates, illus, figs, tabs, maps

Johns Hopkins University Press

Paperback | Dec 2001 | #118986 | ISBN: 0801864682
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NHBS Price: £24.50 $32/€28 approx

About this book

With its rich evolutionary record of natural systems and long history of human activity, the Chesapeake Bay provides an excellent example of how a great estuary has responded to the powerful forces of human settlement and environmental change. This text explores all of the long-term changes the Chesapeake has undergone and uncovers the inextricable connections among land, water and humans in this unusually delicate ecosystem. Edited by a historian, a palaeobiologist, and a geologist at the Johns Hopkins University and written for general readers, the book brings together experts in various disciplines to consider the truly complex and interesting environmental history of the Chesapeake and its watershed. Chapters explore a variety of topics, including the natural systems of the watershed and their origins; the effects of human interventions ranging from Indian slash-and-burn practices to changing farming techniques; the introduction of pathogens, both human and botanical; the consequences of the oyster's depletion; the response of bird and animal life to environmental factors introduced by humans; and the influence of the land and water on the people who settled along the Bay. The work originated in two conferences sponsored by the National Science Foundation, and seeks to achieve a broad historical and scientific appreciation of the various processes that shaped the Chesapeake region.


Contents: Acknowledgments List of Contributors Introduction Chapter 1 The Chesapeake Ecosystem - Its Geological Heritage George W. Fisher and Jerry R. Schubel Chapter 2 Climate and Climate History in the Chesapeake Bay Region John E. Kutzbach and Thompson Webb III Chapter 3 Forests before and after the Colonial Encounter Grace S. Brush Chapter 4 Human Influences on the Physical Characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay Donald W. Pritchard and Jerry Schubel Chapter 5 A Long-Term History of Terrestrial Birds and Mammals in the Chesapeake-Susquehanna Watershed David W. Steadman Chapter 6 Living along the "Great Shellfish Bay" - The Relationship between Prehistoric Peoples and the Chesapeake Henry M. Miller Chapter 7 Human Biology of Populations in the Chesapeake Watershed Douglas H. Ubelaker and Philip D. Curtin Chapter 8 A Useful Arcadia - European Colonists as Biotic Factors in Chesapeake Forests Timothy Silver Chapter 9 Reconstructing the Colonial Environment of the Upper Chesapeake Watershed Robert D. Mitchell, Warren R. Hofstra, and Edward F. Connor Chapter 10 Human Influences on Aquatic Resources in the Chesapeake Bay Victor S. Kennedy and Kent Mountford Chapter 11 Land Use, Settlement Patterns, and the Impact of European Agriculture, 1620-1820 Lorena S. Walsh Chapter 12 Chesapeake Gardens and Botanical Frontiers Anne E. Yentsch and James L. Reveal Chapter 13 Genteel Erosion - The Ecological Consequences of Agrarian Reform in the Chesapeake, 1730-1840 Carville Earle and Ronald Hoffman Chapter 14 Farming, Disease, and Change in the Chesapeake Ecosystem G. Terry Sharrer Chapter 15 Bird Populations of the Chesapeake Bay Region 350 Years of Change James F. Lynch Commentary - Reading the Palimpsest William Cronon Index

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Philip D. Curtin is a professor emeritus in the Department of History. Grace S. Brush is a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. George W. Fisher is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University.

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