Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape
For nearly two centuries, the creation myth for the United States imagined European settlers arriving on the shores of a vast, uncharted wilderness. Over the last two decades, however, a contrary vision has emerged, one which sees the country's roots not in a state of "pristine" nature but rather in a "human-modified landscape" over which native peoples exerted vast control.Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape seeks a middle ground between those conflicting paradigms, offering a critical, research-based assessment of the role of Native Americans in modifying the landscapes of pre-European America. Contributors focus on the western United States and look at the question of fire regimes, the single human impact which could have altered the environment at a broad, landscape scale, and which could have been important in almost any part of the West. Each of the seven chapters is written by a different author about a different subregion of the West, evaluating the question of whether the fire regimes extant at the time of European contact were the product of natural factors or whether ignitions by Native Americans fundamentally changed those regimes.An introductory essay offers context for the regional chapters, and a concluding section compares results from the various regions and highlights patterns both common to the West as a whole and distinctive for various parts of the western states. The final section also relates the findings to policy questions concerning the management of natural areas, particularly on federal lands, and of the "naturalness" of the pre-European western landscape.
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aboriginal agricultural Anasazi Anderson anthropogenic Apache Arno Baisan Barrett Basin Betancourt burning by Indians California chaparral charcoal Colo Colorado cultural early ecological ecosystems elevations environment environmental Euro-American evidence Figure fire ecology fire frequency fire history fire regimes fire return intervals Fish Fort Collins fuel grass grasslands Grissino-Mayer Handhook of North Hohokam Holocene human hunting ignition source impacts Indian burning intermountain Jemez Mountains Journal juniper Kaib Kalapuya land landscape lightning fires lightning ignitions lightning strikes Mexico Minnich mixed-conifer forests montane National Park Native Americans North America northern occurred Oregon Pacific Northwest patterns percent period plants pollen ponderosa pine ponderosa pine forests population pre-European prehistoric Press pristine Pyne Range record region Research Rocky Mountains sagebrush settlement Sierra Nevada Sonoran Desert southern Southwest southwestern spatial species suggest technical report tion tree-ring trees Tucson University of Arizona uplands USDA Forest Service Utah Valley Washington West western Willamette Valley woodlands