Land Realism

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, among the oldest settled urban areas in North America.

Major John Wesley PowellJohn Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell's 1878 publication of a land-use plan for the desert plateau based ... on concern for river restoration.

"The importance of Powell' s report lay in his adaptation of land and water laws, technology, and institutions to the dry-drought prone West. He influenced subsequent reclamation policies, provided for comprehensive land surveys and land-use planning."

p. 63, Marshes of the Ocean Shore.

The importance of Powell' s vision for the west:

". . . professed a political faith in communal water ownership.

A realistic appraisal of the varied lands in need of comprehensive regional planning."

p. 64, Ibid.

The "preservation of habitats for biological reasons"

Watersheds are keys to comprehending land realism.

Vegetation associations and their dependent animals and resources are keys to water on land.

Limiting factors are the ecological keys to comprehending what land is able to sustain.

Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain.

The contemporary west and conservation's failings:

Marc Reisners's argument is based on land realism:

The dream was a Jeffersonian agrarian settlement in the west with Hamiltonian means of securing land and water rights to sustain farming, agriculture and mining.

Cadillac Desert

Any inquiry into land realism begins with a study of biological communities in our past and builds up step by step to understanding ecological integrity as a means of protecting resources today for the future!

Estuaries | Definition | Introduction | Map | Landscape | Plan's Goals

Lesson One: The Biomes of North America

John Wesley Powell and C. Hart Merriam understood the conditions that shifted plant associations and in North America meant the east was significantly different from the west.

Today we call these associations of vegetation biomes and they are characterized by common climate, cycles of rainfall and evaporation, soil qualities, altitude, latitude, prevailing winds and associated animal grazers and predators such that moving from one geographical region to another a recognizable change is apparent from the humidity, to the temperature, and the annual snow, fog, or rainfall patterns among many other factors.

Grassland biome's productive parts:


Herds of bison are the herbivores of grazers that thrive in this arid range-land


Biomes differ by the amount of life, measured in biomass sustained by the conditions.

Las Vegas, the quintessential New Jerusalem.

Some definitions.


A Biome is a biotic province with specific climatic conditions and geographical features, you are in the Southern coastal mixed conifer and hardwood forest biome, perched atop sandy soil.



Rollins College is situated on Karsts terrain or a limestone topography, in the St. Johns River valley, with a sub-tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons (winter is usually dry, while summer is the rainy season).

Pickerel weed marks the water's edge as an emergent aquatic plant in a pontederia marsh

Water borders are actually indicators of growing plant communities season after season in Florida that has a distinct dry and wet season alternation over the course of a year, thus affecting the growing seasons of fruits, vegetables and exotic plants, just as much as frost affects the length of the growing season to the north.

Try discovering your identity with respect to the biotic and geographical parts of the continent.

Where can you go to get a feel for natural areas of the US?

Alpine valley landscape in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Contrast this new world image with an Eastern European "landschaften," or landscape.

My objectives:

For you to learn:

In what watershed and the bio regional provinces of North America have you lived for the longest time?


The assignments are to assist you to write an essay on what is worth protecting in the nation based on the names of key people, like Marsh and Powell and significant ideas concerning ecological areas of the nation's geographical features:

Where are these places?

1. Eastern Seaboard ...the tidewater, fall-line & piedmont plateau.

2. Southern Coastal Plain ...Sea Islands, Florida, Mississippi Delta & Cuba.

3. Appalachian Highlands ...Alleghenies, Smoky Mountains, Cumberland Gap, the Shenandoah and Monongehelia Rivers.

4. Central Region ...Prairies, Ohio & Missouri River Valleys, Great Plains.

5. Pacific Rim ...Sierra Nevada, Cascade and Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, Columbia & Colorado Rivers, Yellowstone Basin & Yosemite Valley.


What must you do to do well in this assignment for the class?
  1. Write everyday and revise your writing,
  2. read and interpret the texts,
  3. compare and contrast the authors,
  4. develop themes with appropriate supporting evidence,
  5. make an argument based on the divergent views of the writers we discuss in the readings.

A Polish landscape depicting the human imprint on the European environment.

[Global Ecology] [Schematic models] [Links] [Course overview]

[My Rollins Home Page]

Previous page compass Next page

origins of ecology

Did the Coast change? USGS

These buttons below work as navigational aids.

This page was renewed on 3/24/2012, and again on 20-Oct-2015

by :