This study traces the origins of conservation thinking in America to the naturalists who explored the middle-western frontier between 1740 and 1840. Their inquiries yielded a comprehensive natural history of America and inspired much of the conservation and ecological thinking we associate with later environmental and ecological philosophy. These explorers witnessed one of the great environmental transformations in American history, as the vast forests lying between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi gave way to a landscape of fields, meadows, and pastures. In debating these changes, naturalists translated classical ideas like the balance of nature and the spiritual unity of all species into an American idiom. This book highlights the contributions made by the generation of natural historians who pioneered the utilitarian, ecological, and aesthetic arguments for protecting or preserving nature in America.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 330
Weight: 570 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 23 mm
"Richard Judd takes us on a lively excursion into the early American backcountry alongside the explorers who travelled through the great Eastern forest as it was being transformed into farmland. Writing in the century before Henry David Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh, this community of scientists helped give voice to Americans' love of nature and prepared the ground for the conservation movement to come." -Brian Donahue, Brandies University, author of The Great Meadow
"Less a chronological survey than an exploration of the mental universe of early natural history and American independence, The Untilled Garden recovers an emotional and aesthetic approach to nature lost with the rise of professional, academic, objective science. It organizes the multiple voices discussing Americans on the land and gives a rich account of the background to American conservation. A full account of an important part of the American engagement with the land, it offers much to anyone, scholar or ordinary citizen, interested in how Americans saw the land they explored and settled." -Thomas R. Dunlap, Texas A&M University
"[An] impressively researched study"
The New England Quarterly, Anya Zilberstein, Concordia University