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Discovering the Chesapeake : The History of an Ecosystem - Philip D. Curtin

Discovering the Chesapeake

The History of an Ecosystem

By: Philip D. Curtin (Editor), Grace S. Brush (Editor), George W. Fisher (Editor)

Paperback Published: 21st March 2001
ISBN: 9780801864681
Number Of Pages: 416
For Ages: 22+ years old

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With its rich evolutionary record of natural systems and long history of human activity, the Chesapeake Bay provides an excellent example of how a great estuary has responded to the powerful forces of human settlement and environmental change. Discovering the Chesapeake explores all of the long-term changes the Chesapeake has undergone and uncovers the inextricable connections among land, water, and humans in this unusually delicate ecosystem.

Edited by a historian, a paleobiologist, and a geologist at the Johns Hopkins University and written for general readers, the book brings together experts in various disciplines to consider the truly complex and interesting environmental history of the Chesapeake and its watershed. Chapters explore a variety of topics, including the natural systems of the watershed and their origins; the effects of human interventions ranging from Indian slash-and-burn practices to changing farming techniques; the introduction of pathogens, both human and botanical; the consequences of the oyster's depletion; the response of bird and animal life to environmental factors introduced by humans; and the influence of the land and water on the people who settled along the Bay.

Discovering the Chesapeake, originating in two conferences sponsored by the National Science Foundation, achieves a broad historical and scientific appreciation of the various processes that shaped the Chesapeake region.

"Today's Chesapeake Bay is only some ten thousand years old. What a different world it was... when the region was the home of the ground sloth, giant beaver, dire wolf, mastodon, and other megafauna. In the next few thousand years, the ice may form again and the Bay will once more be the valley of the Susquehanna, unless, of course, human-induced changes in climate create some other currently unpredictable condition." -- from the Introduction p. xviii]

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
List of Contributorsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
The Chesapeake Ecosystem: Its Geologic Heritagep. 1
Climate and Climate History in the Chesapeake Bay Regionp. 15
Forests before and after the Colonial Encounterp. 40
Human Influences on the Physical Characteristics of the Chesapeake Bayp. 60
A Long-Term History of Terrestrial Birds and Mammals in the Chesapeake-Susquehanna Watershedp. 83
Living along the "Great Shellfish Bay": The Relationship between Prehistoric Peoples and the Chesapeakep. 109
Human Biology of Populations in the Chesapeake Watershedp. 127
A Useful Arcadia: European Colonists as Biotic Factors in Chesapeake Forestsp. 149
Reconstructing the Colonial Environment of the Upper Chesapeake Watershedp. 167
Human Influences on Aquatic Resources in the Chesapeake Bay Watershedp. 191
Land Use, Settlement Patterns, and the Impact of European Agriculture, 1620-1820p. 220
Chesapeake Gardens and Botanical Frontiersp. 249
Genteel Erosion: The Ecological Consequences of Agrarian Reform in the Chesapeake, 1730-1840
Farming, Disease, and Change in the Chesapeake Ecosystemp. 304
Bird Populations of the Chesapeake Bay Region: 350 Years of Changep. 322
Commentary: Reading the Palimpsestp. 355
Indexp. 375
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780801864681
ISBN-10: 0801864682
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 21st March 2001
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.6  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.58

Earn 136 Qantas Points
on this Book