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Hughes - Deforestation, Overgrazing and Erosion.docx

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HIST 2250
Mary Ann Cyphers- Reiche

Deforestation, Overgrazing and Erosion Consumption of Wood - Wood & charcoal primary fuel, building material fundamental in trade (shipbuilding) - Govts encouraged timber trade via privileges /tax incentive - Attempts to secure wood supplies for warships a major role in diplomacy and warfare, deliberate destruction of forests common war tactic - For war machinery& other military purposes, soldiers sent to collect wood for fortifications and fuel Methods and Tech of the Timber Industry trees cut, branches lopped off, logs pulled by animals, cut into transportable sizes, some carried over water, logs floated to their destination Other Causes of Forest Removal Clearing for Agri - Some farms reserved sections as woodlots and didn’t completely clear all the trees - Trees cut/uprooted, remove useful parts, leftovers burnt to ashes& plowed on field as fertilizer - Tress that grew naturally a sign of what plants would do well in that area Overgrazing: pastoralism didn’t destroy high forests but made permanent what destruction went before Fire: pastoralism – fire to clear brush and forests, wildfires – only fought if threatened settlements The Process of Deforestation - Exploitation began near centres of demand (ex. cities, mining districts) proceeded in isolated areas as time went on – more reachable forests plundered first, by 5 cent BC Athens was mostly bare - In N Greece – forests survived best in settled times, in invasions peasants moved to refuge areas in mountains and cleared forests and planted fields – when times better they moved to richer plains (allowing higher elevation forests to recover) Effects of Deforestation (hillside erosion, flooding, interfere w water supply, siltation of lowlands& coastlines) Disruption of the Water Supply & Flooding: forests regulate runoff of ppt (prevent floods & supply to streams) Erosion and Siltation - Rains washed away unprotected earth, destroyed uplands that might have regrown - Silt/sand/gravel that reddened the rivers deposited at their mouths along the shores of the Mediterranean sea, sediments deposited in lower areas, localized process o Gradually altered coastlines, new wetlands bred malarial mosquitoes (good for animals tho) Climate: local climates (microclimate
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