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The Making of America's Ancient Forests
- Notes on Part One of Thomas M. Bonnicksen's America's Ancient Forests.

The Making of America's Ancient Forests - Part One of Thomas M. Bonnicksen's America's Ancient Forests
Notes by Ariadne Unst.

The forests of the mind.

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"Forests only exist in human minds. Groups of animals and plants that we call forests come together for a short time; then each species goes its separate way when conditions change."

So begins the marvelous book by Thomas M. Bonnicksen: America's Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery: The Making of America's Ancient Forests. The book shows how forest of North America developed in the Ice Ages and have been groomed and modified by people -- starting with the North American Indians and continuing with the exploring Europeans. Check it out.

The Making of America's Ancient Forests.

The book starts in the Ice Ages. Forests ebb and flow with the edge of the ice sheets across the North American continent.

The earliest tamers of the North American wilderness were the Paleoindians, who swept across the Americas as the Clovis hunters, with the long, sharpened hunting stones that they fixed to spears. They hunted and they gathered, and began to harvest the forests.

The sixth chapter describes how the American Indians managed the trees of North America. As Julia Parker (a Kashia Pomo) is quoted: " 'We take from the earth and say please. We give back to the earth and say thank you.' "

The seventh and final chapter in this section shows how the Paleoindians -- the inhabitants of North America when the Europeans arrived -- were masters of fire. They used it as a tool to open up the forests, which helped the forests as well as the Paleoindians thrive.

The Chapters in Part One.

These are the chapters 1 to 7, which comprise the first main section of the book:

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  1. The Great Cold.
  2. Ice Age Forests.
  3. The Birth of Modern Forests.
  4. Ancient People in a New World.
  5. Taming a Wilderness.
  6. Enhancing Nature's Bounty.
  7. Fire Masters.

The Other Half of the Book.

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The book continues with:

Links and References.

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