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German Impact and Influences on American Forestry until World War II

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Natural resources of North America ensured the existence of German immigrants in the late 17th century. In Pennsylvania and North Carolina, measures for forest protection and sustainable forestry were invoked at an early date. Efforts were based on inventory of the resources and controlled use. During the 18th and 19th centuries, German emigration was boosted by the scarcity of wood. Proto-industry in Germany strongly depended on wood and coal resources, causing negative effects in the forest and environment. Increasing population and developing industrialization devastated the forests. International scientific contact in forestry started during the American Revolutionary War. German influence on American forestry began in 1873, when the Austro-Hungarian government hosted an international exhibition in Vienna. German forest scientists and politicians focused on sustainable forestry and initiated a fundamental forest education system in the United States. An intensive German‐American exchange on a professional basis took place until the beginning of World War II. The acquired historical knowledge on this subject demonstrates that German and North American environmental perception had interacted considerably.

Keywords: US‐German relations; forest education; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • 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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