By Douglas W. McCleery
MacCleery recounts how settlers got rid of a lot of the yankee woodland for agriculture and trade through the nineteenth century. in the beginning of the twentieth century, even though, demographic alterations and an rising conservation circulate helped decrease wildfire and inspire reforestation. this present day there's extra forestland within the U.S. than there has been seventy five years in the past.
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Extra resources for American Forests: A History of Resiliency and Recovery
The American Forestry Association, formed in 1875, and the Sierra Club, formed in 1892, are both tangible examples of public concern for the forested environment. Other concerned groups included the Boone and Crockett Club (1888), National Audubon Society (1905), and Izaak Walton League (1922). CONDITION OF FORESTS AND WILDLIFE IN 1900 The following snapshot of the condition of the nation’s forest and wildlife in 1900 helps frame the natural resource situation that faced these early conservation leaders: Wildfire commonly consumed twenty million to fifty million acres annually (an area the size of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware combined).
The South escaped much of the destructive post-logging fires that occurred in the North, perhaps because many of the native southern pine stands were of a more open type that had been maintained by frequent natural or Indian-set fires. Southern farmers continued the native practice of burning the woods, which reduced undergrowth and fuel buildup necessary for large wildfires. DECLINES IN WILDLIFE The 19th century witnessed dramatic declines in a wide range of wildlife species. In the East, the once enormously abundant passenger pigeon was decimated by over hunting and loss of habitat.
But the extensive logging and land clearing during the 19th century greatly increased both the extent and the destructiveness of wildfires. Before 1930 from twenty million to fifty million acres commonly burned each year; few forest areas were effectively protected. In the 1920s there were about eighty million acres of land that were unstocked, largely due to repeated wildfires. Few if any areas were replanted after logging, at least in part due to the risk of loss to fire. It became clear that the fire problem had to be addressed.
American Forests: A History of Resiliency and Recovery by Douglas W. McCleery