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Deforesting the Earth From Prehistory to Global Crisis, an Abridgment

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ISBN-10: 0226899470

ISBN-13: 9780226899473

Edition: 2006 (Abridged)

Authors: Michael Williams

List price: $46.00
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"Anyone who doubts the power of history to inform the present should read this closely argued and sweeping survey. This is rich, timely, and sobering historical fare written in a measured, non-sensationalist style by a master of his craft. One only hopes (almost certainly vainly) that today's policymakers take its lessons to heart."--Brian Fagan, "Los Angeles"" Times" Published in 2002, "Deforesting the Earth "was a landmark study of the history and geography of deforestation. Now available as an abridgment, this edition retains the breadth of the original while rendering its arguments accessible to a general readership. Deforestation--the thinning, changing, and wholesale clearing of forests for fuel, shelter, and agriculture--is among the most important ways humans have transformed the environment. Surveying ten thousand years to trace human-induced deforestation's effect on economies, societies, and landscapes around the world, "Deforesting the Earth "is the preeminent history of this process and its consequences. Beginning with the return of the forests after the ice age to Europe, North America, and the tropics, Michael Williams traces the impact of human-set fires for gathering and hunting, land clearing for agriculture, and other activities from the Paleolithic age through the classical world and the medieval period. He then focuses on forest clearing both within Europe and by European imperialists and industrialists abroad, from the 1500s to the early 1900s, in such places as the New World, India, and Latin America, and considers indigenous clearing in India, China, and Japan. Finally, he covers the current alarming escalation of deforestation, with ourever-increasing human population placing a potentially unsupportable burden on the world's forests.
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Book details

List price: $46.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 9/1/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 520
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 2.090
Language: English

Michael Williams is a writer of plays, musicals, operas and novels and the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera in South Africa. He has written operas for young people based on African mythology, as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world.

List of Illustrations
Preface
Clearing in the Deep Past
The Return of the Forest
Fire and Foragers
The First Farmers
The Classical World
The Medieval World
Reaching Out: Europe and the Wider World
Driving Forces and Cultural Climates, 1500-1750
Clearing in Europe, 1500-1750
The Wider World, 1500-1750
Driving Forces and Cultural Climates, 1750-1900
Clearing in the Temperate World, 1750-1920
Clearing in the Tropical World, 1750-1920
The Global Forest
Scares and Solutions, 1900-1944
The Great Onslaught, 1945-95: Dimensions of Change
The Great Onslaught, 1945-95: Patterns of Change
Epilogue: Backward and Forward Glances
Acknowledgments
List of Measures, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
Notes
Bibliographic Essay
Index