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RMRS-GTR-177: Wood plenty, grass good, water none: Vegetation changes in Arizona's upper Verde River watershed from 1850 to 1997


Shaw, Harley G. 2006. Wood plenty, grass good, water none: Vegetation changes in Arizona's upper Verde River watershed from 1850 to 1997. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-177. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 50 p.

The purpose of this study was to compare current woodland density and distribution in and around the dry upper Verde River watershed in northwestern Arizona with conditions prior to Anglo settlement. Historic conditions were assessed using early photographs and early diaries and reports. The expedition led by Amiel Weeks Whipple was retraced and areas described in 1854 compared with the present. Diaries and reports of members of the Sitgreaves (1851) and Ives (1858) expeditions, Francis Aubry (1857), Edward Beale, John Marion (1870), and Edgar Mearns were also used to assess presettlement woodland conditions. Photographs from 1867, 1871, 1910, and 1917 were repeated between 1995 and 1999. Based upon these early sources, I hypothesize that the aerial distribution of woodlands have not changed greatly since 1851, although densities within many stands have increased. I conclude that at least three dense stands of woodland of unknown extent existed in the study area as early as 1851.

Keywords: Vegetation history, woodlands, juniper, Topographical Engineers, Army Explorations, Verde River watershed, Arizona, Whipple, Sitgreaves, Ives, Mearns


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Title: RMRS-GTR-177: Wood plenty, grass good, water none: Vegetation changes in Arizona's upper Verde River watershed from 1850 to 1997
Electronic Publish Date: August 28, 2006
Last Update:
August 28, 2006

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