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America's Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery

ISBN: 978-0-471-13622-4
608 pages
February 2000
America
At the time of European discovery, the ancient North American forests stretched across nearly half the continent. And while today little remains of this past glory, efforts are underway to bring back some of the diverse ecosystems of that era. America's Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery provides scientists and professionals with essential information for forest restoration and conservation projects, while presenting a compelling and far-reaching account of how the North American landscape has evolved over the past 18,000 years.

The book weaves historical accounts and scientific knowledge into a dynamic narrative about the ancient forests and the events that shaped them. Divided into two major parts, it covers first the glaciers and forests of the Ice Age and the influences of native peoples, and then provides an in-depth look at these majestic forests through the eyes of the first European explorers. Changes in climate and elevation, the movement of trees northward, the assembly of modern forests, and qualities that all ancient forests shared are also thoroughly examined.

A special feature of this book is its self-contained introduction to the early history of Native American peoples and their environment. The author draws on his roots in the Osage nation as well as painstaking research through the historical record, offering a complete discussion of how the cultural practices of hunting, agriculture, and fire helped form the ancient forests.
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PART ONE: THE MAKING OF AMERICA'S ANCIENT FORESTS.

The Great Cold.

Glacial Ages.

Climate and Ice.

Land of the Great Cold.

End of the Ice Age.

Ice Age Forests.

Life Near the Ice.

The Spruce Forest.

Western Forests.

Southern Forests.

Finding the Lost Prairies.

Creatures of the Ice Age.

The Birth of Modern Forests.

Trees Begin to Move.

Pioneer and Settler Trees.

Spruce Migration.

Trees Abandon the Great Plains.

Trees Advance in the Midwest and East.

Trees Advance in the West.

The Great Drought.

The Next Ice Age.

Ancient People in a New World.

First Footprint.

Passage South.

Setting the West.

The Way East.

Trail to Florida.

Journey to Another Continent.

Taming a Wilderness.

Mammoth Hunters.

Ice Age Extinctions.

The Holocene.

Bison Hunters.

Hunter-Gatherers.

Decline and Return of the Bison.

Settlement and the Seasonal Round.

Harvesting the Forest.

Nourishment and Healing.

Temporary and Portable Shelter.

Plank Houses and Canoes.

Enhancing Nature's Bounty.

Wild Gardens.

Agriculture and Forests in the Southwest.

The Hohokam.

The Anasazis.

Agriculture and Forests in the East.

Early Mound Builders.

The Adena.

The Hopewell.

The Mississippians.

Warfare and Forests.

Historical Times.

Fire Masters.

A World of Fire.

Hissing, Roaring Flames.

Fire People.

Country Very Smoky.

Their Fires are Left Burning.

The Ominous Smoke Signal.

Firing the Forests of Their Enemies.

Fire Hunters.

Circles of Fire.

Their Wings are Scorched.

That Necessity May Drive Them.

Green and Fair Pasturage.

To Render Hunting Easier.

Just Set Your Teepee Up There.

They Knew Where to Burn.

Little Hair (Pelillo).

To Dry and Cook.

Straight and Slender.

Burned Places in the Forest (Go-ley-day).

Keeping the Country Open.

A Pleasant Meadow.

Prairies and Open Grounds along the Coast.

Little Knots of Deer.

To Prepare the Ground.

They Cleared the Way with Fire.

Because the Woods Were Not Burnt.

PART TWO: FORESTS AT DISCOVERY.

Timeless Qualities of Ancient Forests.

Patches.

Succession.

Shifting Mosaics.

Mutual Dependence.

The Spanish Explorer's Forests.

Southern Pine Forests.

Pi?on-Juniper and Juniper Woodlands.

Pacific Oak Woodlands.

Valley Woodlands.

Foothill Woodlands.

Coastal Woodlands.

Northern Woodlands.

Coast Redwood Forest.

Forests of the Colonies.

Oak-Chestnut Forest.

Eastern White Pine Forest.

Beech-Maple Forest.

Red Spruce--Fir and Balsam Fir Forests.

Southern Red Spruce--Fir Forest.

Northern Red Spruce--Fir Forest.

High Mountain Balsam Fir Forest.

Forests of the Fathers.

White Spruce Forest.

Great Lakes Pine Forests.

Jack Pine Forest.

Red and White Pine Forests.

Oak-Hickory Forest.

Oak Savannas.

Bottomland and Protected Forests.

Oak Woodlands.

The Trapper's Forests.

Ponderosa Pine Forest.

Lodgepole Pine Forest.

Pacific Douglas-Fir Forest.

Giant Sequoia Forest.

Notes and Citations.

Bibliography.

Index.
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"Despite these misgivings, I think America's Ancient Forests is a much needed text, written by a skilled forest ecologist and his historian. It deserves a place in every restorationist's library alongside Gordon Whitney's From Coastal Wilderness to Fruited Plain and Michael Willams' comprehensive Americans and Their Forests: A Historical Geography." (Ecological Restoration, Vol. 19, No. 4, 11/01)

"What a wonderful synthesis of information from fields as widely varied as botany, ecology, geology, archaeology, anthropology, and history! Thomas Bonnicksen has produced a work that will capture the imagination of anyone interested in the grandeur and beauty of the forests of North America."(Botanical Research Institute of Texas, March 2002)
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