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From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery:
Notes on Part Two of Thomas M. Bonnicksen's America's Ancient Forests.

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

Once, almost half of North America was forests. Then the Europeans arrived.

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At the European discovery of North America, the North American forests covered about 45% of the continent. Trees were immense and much older than trees remaining in Europe, and the forests were open and easy to travel through.

Check out America's Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery, Thomas Bonnicksen's excellent book, to learn about North America's forests in the last few centuries and millenia.

Forests at the Europeans' Discovery of North America.

Starting with the Spanish, European discovery of North America lasted for centuries. At contact, North American forests covered about 45% of the continent. Trees were seen to be immensely larger and older than trees remaining in Europe. Because of the selective use of fire by the Indians, the Europeans found that the forests were open and easy to travel through.

Initially, the Spanish explored the south, southwest, California, and the plains of Kansas. Then the English and Dutch explored the eastern coastal regions, followed by the French, whose trappers and priests explored region of the Great Lakes, the interior of Canada, and the Mississippi River.

Part Two, then, explores the forests that the different European groups moved through and altered as they entered North America. The forests that we see today, and in many places the lack of forests, are in part a legacy from those explorers.

The Chapters in Part Two.

Chapters 8 to 12 comprise the second main section of the book:

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  1. Timeless Qualities of Ancient Forests.
  2. The Spanish Explorer's Forests.
  3. Forests of the Colonies.
  4. Forests of the Fathers.
  5. The Trapper's Forests.

The Rest of the Book.

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The book begins with:

It concludes with:

Links and References.

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