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The forests of the United States have undergone substantial changes since European settlement in the 1600’s. In colonial America, trees were viewed as weeds, and land was cleared to plant agricultural crops. Timber was used to make cabins, fences, and other structures important to frontier life. Forests continued to be cleared as the United States became an important member of the world’s economy. Our forests were one of our most important resources and provided us with wood for housing, paper, and export goods. Forests were cut and the land cleared with little further thought. Deforestation then began to slow, but we still viewed the forest as an unlimited supply of timber, wildlife, homesites, and recreation opportunities. The increasing interest in the environment has now caused us to stand back and think about the sustainability of our forest practices.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
December 15, 2014