The American Forest: From Pre-Settlement to Colonialism Part 2

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The American
Forest: From
Pre-Settlement to
Colonialism
Part 2. ColonialismEarly Forests &
Policies for
Management
Week I. Historical Basis for Modern-Day Forestry
Introduction to Forest Resources and Conservation
Rich, plentiful fishing grounds ("cod banks") off of Newfoundland
New souls; missionaries at the First Mass at Monterey, 1770
In 1602 Sabastian Vizcaino
wrote of Monterey Bay, “There
are pines from which masts of
any desired size can be
obtained, as well as live oak
and white oak.”
• De Soto, 1539-43,
Spanish, FL to LA,
southern oak-pine,
central broad-leaved,
southern bottomland
forest types
• Smith, 1607-12, English,
Chesapeake Bay:
central broad leaved
forests & southern oakpine forest types
• Hudson, 1609, Dutch,
Chesapea;ke Bay north
to New York: southern
oak-pine forests, central
broad-leaved, northern
hardwood forest types
• Descriptions of these
new forests sent back to
Europe were based on
their personal
perspectives,
backgrounds
European Attitudes about North
America forests
• Expectations and impressions resulting from
European folklore and traditions, mythology
– The forest has a spirit of its own: The supernatural,
the mystical beings lived there
• Centaurs, trolls, dwarfs, ogres
• Witches– child-eating (Hansel and Gretel)
• Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty
– The forest paradox: Contradictory beliefs from JudeoChristian stories and hero legends
• Holy men escaped to the forest to purify their souls (e.g.
Moses on Mount Sinai)
• Robin Hood & the Sherwood forest
Both perspective and forest type
influence the reports on the discovered
forests
• Member of De Soto’s crew: “In places [are] high
[tall] and dense forests, into which the Indians that
were hostile betook themselves where they could
not be found, nor could horses enter there.”
– From Southern Bottomland Forest, LA
• Description from Vizcaino: “The land has a genial
climate, its waters are good, and it is very fertile–
judging from the varied and luxuriant growth of
trees and plants…particularly chestnuts and
acorns”
– From open Med. Woodlands to the Pacific Coast Forests,
CA
DeSoto’s forest- southern
bottomland
Both perspective and forest type
influence the reports on the discovered
forests
• Member of De Soto’s crew: “In places [are] high
[tall] and dense forests, into which the Indians that
were hostile betook themselves where they could
not be found, nor could horses enter there.”
– From Southern Bottomland Forest, LA
• Description from Vizcaino: “The land has a genial
climate, its waters are good, and it is very fertile–
judging from the varied and luxuriant growth of
trees and plants…particularly chestnuts and
acorns”
– From open Med. Woodlands to the Pacific Coast Forests,
CA
Vizcaino’s forest- coastal
Caliofornia/ Monterrey Bay
North America forests as known to
Europeans by 1620
• Limited
access:
Primarily a
coastal view
• Impressions
– Fear and
Consternation
– Champlain,
1615
Northern Hardwood Forest Type, south of Lake States
North America forests as known to
Europeans by 1620
• Limited access:
Primarily a
coastal view
• Impressions
– Fear and
Consternation
– Inexhaustible
economic
potential
– New Eden
– - Propaganda
Theodore de Bry around 1590/ N. Carolina coastal view
Reports of Plentiful Forests/ Lands
Encourage the First Settlements
•
Spanish settlement
–
Florida
•
•
St. Augustine (1565)
English Colonies
–
Virginia
•
Roanoke - Walter Raleigh (1580s)
–
–
–
•
–
•
•
John White (painter) First illustrations of forest landscapes in the
United States (1590)
Thomas Hariot (astronomer and mathematician) A briefe and true
report of the new found land of Virginia (1588)
Theodore de Bry, printed version of Hariot’s report with engravings
Jamestown - John Smith (1607-12)
Plymouth (1620)
Importance of the success of the Plymouth Colony
Establishment of other European colonies followed…
Settlements following
1650
– Regional settlement
patterns
•
•
•
•
Migration away from the
coast and into the forests
Settlement along and up
rivers
Displacement of Nat. Ams.
Clearing of the forest for
agriculture
–
Subsistence farming in
northern colonies
– Slash and burn tobacco
agriculture in the southern
colonies
Forest Clearing Techniques
• The cleared land was
necessary not only for
agriculture, but also became a
symbol of order and
civilization
• Settlers adopted Native
American Techniques
– Shortcut to clearing afforded by
methods of girdling, rather than
tree cutting
– Roots left on site rather than
removed
– Use of hoes rather than plows
• No need for regular, large fields
• No heavy equipment, draft
animals, and lowered labor input
• Enabled individual families to
settle land & provide sustenance
Forest Clearing, then agriculture :
The South
• “The English have up to now with little difference
imitated the Indians in this.” (William Byrd, 1623)
• Girdling employed extensively in southern
plantations (limited numbers of work animals)
– Tobacco and cotton plantations- large scale
monocultures
• Both nutrient-demanding crops
• Cut some trees at about 1 yard height, then burned on-site to
return nutrients to soil
– Highly marketable, lightweight to ship to Europe
• Led to soil exhaustion and shift of populations to Piedmont
Beyond forest clearing: Demand for
forest resources increases with
population
Year Population
1620 103
1630 4,600
1650 50,400
1670 111,900
Year
1700
1720
1740
1750
1770
Population
250,900
466,200
905,600
1,170,800
2,148,100
Forests of the
Original Thirteen
Colonies
• To meet
population growth,
forest use extends
inland to different
forest types within
the major forest
formations
Utilization of 13 Original Colonies’
Forests– the Economy
•Agriculture
•Fur trapping
•Fishing
Forest Industries
•Lumber and timber
(construction materials:
poles, logs, wood shakes)
•Maple syrup
•Naval stores (resin,
turpentine)
Slash pine- resin source for caulking ships
Utilization of 13 Original Colonies’
Forests– the Economy
• Other industries
– Ship building: masts
from E. white pine;
ribs from oaks
– 1609 - First shipment
of masts from the
colonies was sent
from Virginia to
England
• Ironworks
• Rum Distilleries
• Trading and shipping
Technology for extraction of forest products–
reflected European methods
– Felling Trees
– Removal from forest
•
•
Horse/ ox
Water
Technology for extraction of forest products
– Saw milling of logs
1631 - First
commercial sawmill
in the colonies
(Berwick, Maine)
– Pit sawing
– Water powered mills
European Traditions of Forest Use
and Management
•
Forest ownership
–
–
Royal lands: Lands of the aristocracy
Common lands (Magna Carta 1215, set 7, “Forest
Clauses”)
•
•
Ended the separation of forest courts, penalties from the
rest of the lands– equal justice for forest dwellers
Objectives of management
–
–
Game production for hunting
Timber (masts, naval stores), and other forest
products
Management of Colonial Forests
• The wilderness
– Undeclared commons
– Magna Carta-type equal justice for forest
dwellers
• Land ownership
– Purchase or confiscation from Native
Americans
– Land grants
• Initial steps toward forest conservation
The First Forest Policies
• 1631 - Massachusetts Bay Colony forbade the
burning of any ground prior to March 1
• 1681 - William Penn provided that for every 5 acres
of forest cleared 1 acre should be kept in trees.
• 1739 - Massachusetts undertook to check the
encroachment of sand dunes at Truro and on Plumb
Island in Ipswich Bay by regulating timber cutting,
grazing, and burning.
• 1772 - New York forbade the bringing to Albany for
fuel, of more than six pieces of wood per load, under
6 inches in diameter for pine and under 4 inches for
other species.
The First Forest Policies, cont.
• 1691 - William and Mary in a new charter creating the Province of
Massachusetts Bay forbade the cutting, without permission of
the British government, of all trees 24 inches or more in diameter
at 12 inches above the ground growing on land not theretofore
granted to a private person, under penalty of law. This became
known as the Broad Arrow policy because of the practice of
marking trees reserved under it for use of the Crown with a broad
arrow.
• 1704 - Navigation Act placed a penalty on injuring pitch pine
trees through cutting or burning (initiation of fire suppression?)
• 1705 - The British Parliament prohibited the felling of "Pitch Pines
and Tar Trees" less than 12 inches in diameter and not growing
on private property.
• 1729 - Broad Arrow policy was reenacted with somewhat stricter
provisions as to what constituted private land.
References
• McBride, J. R. 2007. The American Forest. Slide Collection and
Notes. University of California, Berkeley.
• Williams, M. 1989. Americans and their forests. (Chapter 3-6).
Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 53-145.
• Dana, S. T. and S. K. Fairfax. 1980. Forest and range Policy. New
York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 349352.)
• Bonnicksen, T. M. 2000. America's Ancient Forests. New York: John
Wiley & Sons. pp. 258-292.
• Goetzmann, W. H. and G. Williams. 1992. The Atlas of North
American Exploration. Prentice Hall. NY. 224 p.
Chronology of Colonial Forest
Policies
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
1609 - First shipment of masts from the colonies Was sent from Virginia to
England
1626 - Plymouth Colony forbade the selling or transportation of timber out of
the colony without the approval of the governor and council.
1631 - First commercial sawmill in the colonies (Berwick, Maine)
1631 - Massachusetts Bay Colony forbade the burning of any ground prior to
March 1 (prevent damage to young forest growth and soil)
1668 - Massachusetts reserved for the public all white pine trees fit for masts
in certain parts of the town of Exeter.
1681 - William Penn provided that for every 5 acres of forest cleared 1 acre
should be kept in trees.
1691 - William and Mary in a new charter creating the Province of
Massachusetts Bay forbade the cutting, without permission of the British
government, of all trees 24 inches or more in diameter at 12 inches above the
ground growing on land not theretofore granted to a private person, under
penalty of law. This became known as the Broad Arrow policy because of the
practice of marking trees reserved under it for use of the Crown with a broad
arrow.
1704 - Navigation Act placed a penalty on injuring pitch pine trees through
cutting or burning.
Chronology of Colonial Forest
Policies, cont.
•
•
•
•
•
•
1705 - The British Parliament prohibited the felling of "Pitch Pines and Tar
Trees" less than 12 inches in diameter and not growing on private property.
1729 - Broad Arrow policy was reenacted with somewhat stricter provisions
as to what constituted private land and with better machinery for
enforcement.
1739 - Massachusetts undertook to check the encroachment of sand dunes
at Truro and on Plumb Island in Ipswich Bay by regulating timber cutting,
grazing, and burning.
1743 - New York authorized anyone to call for help in fighting forest fires.
1752 - Connecticut forbade the appropriation, by others than their owners,
the logs and other forest products being floated down the Connecticut River.
This action prevented land owners adjacent to streams from preventing the
use of streams for the transport of logs and other forest products. It led to
the doctrine than any stream which will float a log is navigable and
consequently a public highway.
1772 - New York forbade the bringing to Albany for fuel, of more than six
pieces of wood per load, under 6 inches in diameter for pine and under 4
inches for other species.
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