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The first book-length environmental history of its kind, Where There Are Mountains explores the relationship between human inhabitants of the southern Appalachians and their environment. Incorporating a wide variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, the study draws information from several viewpoints and spans more than four hundred years of geological, ecological, anthropological, and historical development in the Appalachian region. The book begins with a description of the indigenous Mississippian culture in 1500 and ends with the destructive effects of industrial logging and dam building during the first three decades of the twentieth century.
Donald Edward Davis discusses the degradation of the southern Appalachians on a number of levels, from the general effects of settlement and industry to the extinction of the American chestnut due to blight and logging in the early years of this century. This portrait of environmental destruction is echoed by the human struggle to survive in one of our nation's poorest areas. The farming, livestock raising, dam building, and pearl and logging industries that have gradually destroyed this region have also been the livelihood of the Appalachian people. The author explores the sometimes conflicting needs of humans and nature in the mountains while presenting impressive and comprehensive research on the increasingly threatened environment of the southern Appalachians.