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The Wardian Case: Environmental Histories of a Box for Moving Plant

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The Wardian case was a simple box that had major ecological impacts. It was invented in 1829 and allowed for the successful shipping of live plants between many countries and continents. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, humans using Wardian cases facilitated major plant migrations across the globe. As a result humans have overtaken earth processes as the largest mover of vascular plants on the planet. Boxes and cases have largely been neglected as important movers of species and ecologies; with a focus on the Wardian case this essay offers a unique contribution to the field of environmental history. It also positions the importance of the case in contemporary discussions about the movement of plants in the Anthropocene.

Keywords: Anthropocene; Wardian case; botany; mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

This article was made available online on April 18, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Wardian Case: Environmental Histories of a Box for Moving Plants".

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2021) of 0.925. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.902.
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