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From Coastal Wilderness to Fruited Plain: A History of Environmental Change in Temperate North America from 1500 to the Present

By: Gordon G Whitney

451 pages, B/w photos, maps, tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Aug 1996 | #54311 | ISBN: 052157658X
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £59.99 $78/€67 approx
Hardback | Sep 1994 | #31735 | ISBN: 052139452X
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £124.00 $162/€138 approx

About this book

An account of the making of the American landscape following European settlement. Drawing upon land survey records and early travellers' accounts, the author reconstructs the `virgin' forests and grasslands of the northeastern and central US during the presettlement period, then describes the clearance and fragmentation of the region's woodlands, the ploughing of the prairies, and the drainage of wetlands.

'This is a magnificent work ... The book is so well done that I hesitate to mention any specific parts lest I neglect something ... This is a book that every physical geographer should read ... I predict this book will rapidly become a classic and only wish that other scholars would write equally good works on other areas of the world.' Stanley W. Trimble, Progress in Physical Geography 'Whitney's ecological history is scholarly, comprehensive, well written and interesting.' Conservation Biology 'Scholarship shines forth ... whether the interest is in North America, comparative regional studies or approaches to studying forest landscapes, this volume will be a source of insight, entertainment and academic inspiration.' Trends in Ecology and Evolution


List of figures; List of tables; Acknowledgements; Conversion of English to metric units; US state abbreviations; Common and scientific names of trees mentioned in the text; Photographic essay illustrating the character and the demise of the pre-settlement vegetation of the Northeast and the Midwest; 1. Introduction; 2. Reconstructing the past; 3. Nature imposes ...; 4. The forest primeval; 5. Preservers of the ecological balance wheel; 6. European precedents; 7. Assault upon the forest, part I: the farmer; 8. Assault upon the forest, part II: the lumber industry; 9. Assault upon the forest, part III: fuel-wood; 10. Predatory agriculture; 11. Grassland agriculture; 12. Forest influences; 13. A transported flora; 14. An impoverished fauna; 15. The legislated landscape; 16. Conclusion; References; Index.

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