Heredity and Environment in the Temperate Grasslands.
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Meewasin Valley Authority, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Saskatoon, SK, CA
In continents and countries the anthropo-geographer looks to see not what reliefs are present, but how they are distributed. The plains, indeed, have been both source and recipient of every form of historical movement. Temperate grasslands have an innate and prevailing fitness for agriculture, trade and intercourse. They are favored regions for the final massing of a settled population.
Well-watered lowlands invite expansion, ethnic, commercial and political. In these areas the whole range of historical movements meet few obstacles beyond the waters gathering in their runnels and the forests nourished in their rich soils. The vast level plains of the earth have found their distinctive and lasting historical importance in the fact of their large and unbounded surface.
And, looking far ahead, can you hear the heart of the West Swale lowlands beating as one with the heart of the Bluegrass, and both beating as one with the heart of the world.
In the plains geography makes for fusion. Without boundary or barrier, there are no secluded corners where settlements could entrench themselves and preserve their individual identity. There is, as a point in fact, a vast melting-pot, which has succeeded in amalgamating the most diverse elements.
The more flat and featureless a prairie is, the more important become even the slightest surface irregularities which can draw faint dividing lines among the population. Here a gentle land-swell, river, lake, forest, or water-soaked wetlands serves as boundary. Especially apparent is the differentiating influence of difference of soils. Gravel and alluvium, sand and clay, limestone and more recent marine sediments, emphasize small geographical differences.
The meager rainfall of the aspen parkland ecosystem eliminates forests and restricts vegetation to aspen bluffs, grasses, sedges and those forms which can survive a prolonged summer drought and require a short period of growth.
The grasslands, the beloved Blue-grass land, known to the Saskatchewan pioneer and indigenous civilization developed historical importance only after the domestication of cattle, sheep, goats, bison, and horses. This step in progress resulted in the evolution of peoples who renounced the precarious subsistence of the chase and escaped the drudgery of agriculture, to devote themselves to pastoral life.
Historically, however, environment determined the nomadic habits of the prairie dweller. The distribution of pasture and water fixes the scope and the rate of his wandering; these in turn depend upon geographic conditions and vary with the season.
Heredity and environment act and react upon each other with the regularity and inevitability of succession of night and day. Neither tells the whole story; together they make up the sum of life; of the generations that are to come!
Heredity and environment create the make up of the geography of the eco-system, the physical biome of an area.
This process has been best described by Ellen Churchill Semple, Ellen Churchill Semple (January 8, 1863 – May 8, 1932) a geographer who focused on anthropogeography, environmentalism, and “environmental determinism”. An analysis of Semple’s works is one theory which unzips the heredity and environment of the Saskatchewan prairies, the world’s most endangered ecosystem.
The heredity and environment of the afforestation area has been examined to some extent. The afforestation areas are within the larger context of the West Swale. What is the heredity and environment of the West Swale? What is the West Swale?
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The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it it the ‘skin’ of the earth, for without it there can be no water, and therefore, no life.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
It is not a farce.…”To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” ~Terry Tempest Williams