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The Geography of American Tree Species and Associated Place Names

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Place names attached to natural and cultural landscape features may imply valuable information about settlement-era tree distribution and how they were regarded by European settlers. In this study, spatial distribution of tree-related place names was found to be highly consistent with reconstructions of the pre-Columbian distributions of native tree species. Abundance of tree-related place names was correlated with contemporary estimates of major timber species abundance. The findings of this research could be useful in efforts to conserve American forests and restore economically and culturally important species such as the American chestnut (Castanea dentata). The results also suggested that previous reconstructions of pre-Columbian species' distributions may not be entirely accurate.

Keywords: American chestnut; FIA; GNIS; Little's range; restoration

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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