Wilderness and Political Ecology

Environmental law and philosophy assume the existence of a fundamental state of nature: Before the arrival of Columbus, the Americas were a wilderness untouched by human hand, teeming with wildlife and almost void of native peoples. In Wilderness and Political Ecology Charles Kay and Randy Simmons state that this "natural" view of pre-European America is scientifically unsupportable.

This volume brings together scholars from a variety of fields as they seek to demonstrate that native people were originally more numerous than once thought and that they were not conservationists in the current sense of the term. Rather, native peoples took an active part in managing their surroundings and wrought changes so extensive that the anthropogenic environment has long been viewed as the natural state of the American ecosystem.

Charles Kay is adjunct assistant professor of political science at Utah State University.

Randy Simmons is professor and chair of the department of political science at Utah State University

Table of Contents:

Prehistoric Extinctions: In the Shadow of Man: Paul Martin, Desert Laboratory, University of Arizona
Evolutionary Theory, Conservation, and Human Environmental Impact: Michael S. Alvard, Texas A&M University
Pre-Columbian Human Impact on California Vertebrates: Evidence from Old Bones and Implications for Wilderness Policy: Jack M. Broughton, University of Utah
Depletion of Prehistoric Pinniped Populations Along the California and Oregon Coasts: Were Humans the Cause?: William R. Hildebrandt, Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Davis, California, and Terry L. Jones, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Pre-Columbian Wildlife Irruptions in California: Implications for Cultural and Environmental Understanding: William Preston, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
The Role of Prehistoric Peoples in Shaping Ecosystems in the Eastern United States: Implications for Restoration Ecology and Wilderness Policy: Thomas W. Neuman, Atlanta, Georgia
Aboriginal Use of Fire: Are There Any 'Natural' Plant Communities?: Gerald W. Williams, U.S. Forest Service in Washington D.C.
Are Ecosystems Structured from the Top-down or Bottom-up? A New Look at an Old Debate: Charles E. Kay
False Gods, Ecological Myths, and Biological Reality: Charles E. Kay


Praise and Reviews:

"Poses significant issues and brings together an impressive constellation of researchers and data."—Mark Raab, California State University, Northridge