Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - 14

14

Unit i

Introduction

t

he history of this country has been one of exploitation, or using
up, of our natural resources. Our industrial greatness was built
upon our forests, water, iron, coal, oil, and other natural resources.
Our agricultural greatness was built on our soil and water resources.
When people were few and resources were seemingly without limit,
there appeared to be no need to conserve. as a result, little thought
was given to the future, but that was another time and another century.
the future is here.
As we will see in Chapter 3, some natural resources are exploited and some
are changed without being used up (developed). When we exploit or develop our
natural resources carefully so that they will last as long as possible we are practicing conservation. Conservation, as we use the term in this book, refers to the
careful use of our natural resources to provide as much usefulness as possible to
people both now and in the future. That is often referred to as sustainable use.
In the fields of forestry, fish and wildlife management, soil and water management, energy, and mineral resources management, we have begun to turn the tide.
Wise management of our natural resources is beginning to replace shortsighted
exploitation. We cannot afford to let our progress in the last third of the twentieth century give us a false sense of security as we move further into the twenty-first century.
The challenges facing us in the future are greater than ever before. With a
world population that is now adding a billion people every few decades, we must
continue and even accelerate our country's recent progress in natural resources
management.
With that in mind, let's look into the past. This chapter briefly discusses the
history of the conservation movement in this country. The areas of forest management, soil and water conservation, and wildlife management are examined.
We will not look at the energy or mineral areas. Large-scale conservation efforts
in those fields have been fairly recent developments.

WiLDLiFE MAnAGEMEnt
the Early Years
Early accounts of America's wildlife discuss it in awed tones. The settlers in the
Virginia colony and the Pilgrims further north wrote of deer, hares, and fowl
"in incredible numbers." At least one writer estimated the number of passenger
pigeons as "millions of millions." There is no reason to doubt that America was
one of the world's greatest storehouses of wildlife. Yet, these early settlers probably
badly overestimated the true picture in the eastern part of the country. Of course,
they had no way of knowing about the vast game herds in the Great Plains at
the time.
When the European settlers came, the colonies were covered largely by mature
forests. These forests were broken only by streams, marshes, natural meadows,
and clearings created by Native Americans, beavers, or lightning-caused fires.
Virgin forests and grasslands could support vast flocks of passenger pigeons.
The streams could support millions of beaver. The marshes could support great
flocks of waterfowl.
Deer, turkey, quail, rabbits, and many other important game animals need
access to clearings in the forests to exist in large numbers. The animals were plentiful along the coasts and streams and around the great marshes, but they could
not have been plentiful in the great inland mature forests. The early settlers, by



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp

Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover1
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover2
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - i
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - ii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - iv
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - v
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Contents
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - vii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - viii
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - ix
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - x
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - xi
Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - xii
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Managing Our Natural Resources, 6e, Camp - Cover4
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