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    Author(s): Theodor D. Leininger; Gregory A. Reams
    Date: 2004
    Source: In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 12. p. 119-122.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (850 KB)

    Description

    The health of forests in the Southeastern United States, as elsewhere in the country, is tied closely to the history of human presence on the land and the use and abuse of its abundant natural resources. In his discussion of the relationship between forest condition and the Native American presence in the Southeast, Rauscher (this book) makes two points. Firstly, the forests of 500 years ago are believed to have been very different from the forests of today. Forests were more open, and their condition was maintained by Native American fires. Secondly, once Native American populations were significantly reduced by disease, the forests began to change, becoming more dense and stratified. It is clear that few, if any, plants, animals, or microbes from other continents were present in North America before it was settled by Europeans. Whereas large segments of Native American populations were wiped out by foreign diseases within 100 years of European settlement on the continent, the effect of this settlement on Native American vegetation was less immediate, beginning in earnest in the middle to late 1800s, and continuing today.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Leininger, Theodor D.; Reams, Gregory A. 2004. Healthy forests in the South: Challenges for the 21st century. In: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–75. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. Chapter 12. p. 119-122.

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