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    Author(s): Hayden R. Smith
    Date: 2016
    Source: In: Stringer, Christina E.; Krauss, Ken W.; Latimer, James S., eds. 2016. Headwaters to estuaries: advances in watershed science and management -Proceedings of the Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. March 2-5, 2015, North Charleston, South Carolina. e-General Technical Report SRS-211. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 302 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)

    Description

    This study explains the geographical importance of the Cooper and Wando River watersheds, located east of Charleston (SC), in relation to inland rice cultivation during the colonial and antebellum periods. By focusing on the geological formation of this watershed, this paper will explain the connection between this plantation enterprise and the natural environment. The central South Carolina coastal plain physiography consists of a series of soil deposits during the Pleistocene. This topography provided a foundation for which free and enslaved rice cultivators lived and worked. By examining the spatial patterns of these actors in relation to the topography, this paper intends to show another chapter where the natural environment influences human action. Inland rice cultivation provided a foundation for the South Carolina colonial plantation complex and enabled planters’ participation in the Atlantic economy, dependence on enslaved labor, and dramatic alteration of the natural landscape. Also, the growing population of enslaved Africans led to a diversely acculturated landscape unique to the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Unlike previous historical interpretations, which generalize inland rice cultivation in a universal and simplistic manner, this study discusses how agricultural systems varied from plantation to plantation. By explaining the importance of planters’ and slaves’ creative alterations of the inland topography, this interpretation will emphasize agricultural modes of production as ecological phenomena.

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    Citation

    Smith, Hayden R. 2016. Environmental relations between inland rice culture and the Cooper and Wando River watersheds, South Carolina. In: Stringer, Christina E.; Krauss, Ken W.; Latimer, James S., eds. 2016. Headwaters to estuaries: advances in watershed science and management -Proceedings of the Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. March 2-5, 2015, North Charleston, South Carolina. e-General Technical  Report  SRS-211. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 7 p.

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