The landscape in America is a source of important clues about our national character and identity.


Your essay about landscape is focused on ecological change from 1600 to 1900 as indicated by authors and the consequences they describe about these changes since colonial settlement. You are trying to describe, “What happened” and how?


The idea is for you to compile convincing evidence from the readings that:

1.     land, water, vegetation and wildlife alterations were obvious to people who wrote before 1900.

2.     That these observers also placed a value on the changes they noted and described the changes in terms of costs or opportunities that were lost.

3.     Do you think these changes had consequences for:

a.      Agricultural expansion,

b.     Economic growth,

c.      Population density increases or changes,

d.     Transportation improvements,

e.      Resettlement of people

f.       The recognition, for some, that conserving landscape was important?


  1. Essay on ecological changes                     Feb.   25 / Mar 25              20%

This is a draft of your ideas based on the readings, so include some of the more important expressions describing these changes and how they affected people’s beliefs about nature, wildlife, and resources.


Start with Lewis Mumford from pages 26-48, as an example of how one author believes that landscape is important, who was involved in recognizing a shift in our attitudes about land, and when these insights originated.


Consider that changes in the landscape were gradual, but identifiable in stages from agrarian to industrial and urban / suburban changes. So focus on the consequences of the agrarian to industrial changes and how people responded.


See these sources also:


a key concept is watersheds:

 and in detail


more on water is found at


some key ideas and links are at: