The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, by Andrew C. Isenberg

By Andrew C. Isenberg

The Destruction of the Bison explains the decline of the North American bison inhabitants from an expected 30 million in 1800 to fewer than a thousand a century later. during this wide-ranging, interdisciplinary learn, Andrew C. Isenberg argues that the cultural and ecological come across among local americans and Euroamericans within the nice Plains used to be the valuable explanation for the close to extinction of the bison. Drought and the incursion of family farm animals and unique species resembling horses into the nice Plains all threatened the Western atmosphere, which used to be additional destabilized as interactions among local americans and Euroamericans created new forms of hunters in either cultures: fixed Indian nomads and white advertisement cover hunters. within the early 20th century, nostalgia in regards to the very cultural strife that first threatened the bison turned, paradoxically, an immense impetus to its protection.

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By Andrew C. Isenberg

The Destruction of the Bison explains the decline of the North American bison inhabitants from an expected 30 million in 1800 to fewer than a thousand a century later. during this wide-ranging, interdisciplinary learn, Andrew C. Isenberg argues that the cultural and ecological come across among local americans and Euroamericans within the nice Plains used to be the valuable explanation for the close to extinction of the bison. Drought and the incursion of family farm animals and unique species resembling horses into the nice Plains all threatened the Western atmosphere, which used to be additional destabilized as interactions among local americans and Euroamericans created new forms of hunters in either cultures: fixed Indian nomads and white advertisement cover hunters. within the early 20th century, nostalgia in regards to the very cultural strife that first threatened the bison turned, paradoxically, an immense impetus to its protection.

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Extra info for The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750-1920

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At the juncture of the Heart and Missouri rivers in the northern plains, John Bradbury ascended a bluff and counted 17 herds numbering more than 10,000 animals. 39 Sightings such as these prompted exaggerated estimates of the aggregate bison population. In the 1860s, the bison hunter Robert M. Wright and General Philip Sheridan calculated that 100 million bison roamed the Great Plains. 40 Such estimates failed to consider that enormous herds congregated only during the summer months for the rutting season.

Sims, J. S. Singh, and W. K. Lauenroth, "The Structure and Function of Ten Western North American Grasslands I: Abiotic and Vegetational Characteristics," Journal of Ecology, 66 (March 1978), 270; Sims and Singh, "The Structure and Function of Ten Western North American Grasslands II: Intra-Seasonal Dynamics in Primary Producer Compartments," Journal ofEcology, 66 (July 1978), 565. 18 Kraenzel, Great Plains in Transition, 12-13. 19 Blue grama can utilize as little as five millimeters of rainfall.

One ecologist has argued that at any given time, it is likely that the biomass of an ungulate population and the biomass of forage are at disequilibrium with each other. Such fluctuations can be relatively minor: There 62 Arthur F. Halloran, "Bison (Bovidae) Productivity on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma," Southwestern Naturalist, 13 (May 1968), 23-26. 63 Meagher, Bison of Yellowstone, v. 64 See H. " in J. R. Krebs and N. B. , Behavioral Ecology: An Evolutionary Approach, 2d ed.

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