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The environmental diversity of western North America is astounding: from the wind-scoured tundra of the high mountains to the seemingly desolate lowland deserts. No less remarkable is the record of plant usage by the various indigenous peoples who have been living there for more than twelve millennia. For the vast majority of this time, their livelihood, food, shelter, fuel, and medicine depended on their knowledge and use of the plants that surrounded them.
The most comprehensive overview in more than half a century on the interconnectedness of people and plants, this book and its companion volume, People and Plants in Ancient Eastern North America, present the latest information on three major topics: the uses of native plants, the history of crops and their uses, and the impact of humans on their environment. They not only contribute to our understanding of the lives of prehistoric people but also serve as guides for designing sustainable living today.
Reissue of a book first published in 2004.