Our Nation's heritage

MaineWhat defines America?

Settlement is and was affected by three attributes of places which are: scenic, useful, and ecologically rare lands.

A. An inevitable playing out of natural constraints are a) historical and b) ecological or assimilative capacity, such as water.

B. There is a layering of landscape features canals, aqueducts, electricity create competing values for different uses that are either compatible or incompatible with the success of settlers:

Geology, sandy soils (old dune remnants), sediments, coal, oil, faults, reservoirs, rivers & riparian lands, aquifer recharge, mountains, wetlands, canyons, cliffs, formations). Biology: beavers, deer, turtles, manatees, eagles, reefs. Vegetation forests, sea grasses, oak, white pine, rosemary scrub (fire tolerant plants),

Cultural prehistory, & historical events: Indian removal, deforestation, mining, reclamation, urbanization, dust bowl.

C. The relationship of settlers to landscape over time generates benefits vs. expenses: the biological wealth we use depends on unseen actors and forces manifest in places we do not appreciate nor fully, rationally understand. Thus American land policy is understood best as a reciprocal failure of policy and geography.

People and landscape create the arena within which any history is played out -- mutualistically. That is to say people are partners with places.