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|From Coastal Wilderness to Fruited Plain is an account of the making of a large part of the American landscape following European settlement. Drawing upon land surveys records and early travelers' accounts, Dr Whitney reconstructs the 'virgin' forests and grasslands of the northeastern and central United States during the presettlement period. He then documents successively the clearance and fragmentation of the region's woodlands, the harvest of the forest and its game, the plowing of prairies and the draining of wetlands. The native American, the trapper, the farmer and the lumberman all benefited from the land and its resources. The degree to which their activities altered the soil, climate, flora, fauna and water cycles of the region, and in the process gave rise to modern forest, farm and urban ecosystems, forms the core of the book. This well-illustrated and referenced work should be of interest to all those concerned about the sustainability of ecosystems, and the imprint of the past on the contemporary landscape.|