"The Ecology of Erasure: Soil Erosion, Landscape Conservation, and the Greening of the South"
by Dr. Paul Sutter
Dr. Paul Sutter, associate professor of history at the University of Colorado, delivered the 2015 Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History. His talk was based upon the concluding section of his new book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South, which looks at the ways in which the signs of the massive soil erosion that accompanied tobacco and cotton agriculture in the 19th and early 20th centuries became hidden beneath a mantle of trees during the postwar years. What Thomas Clark long ago called “the greening of the south,” Sutter calls the “ecology of erasure.” Sutter discusses the relationship between soil erosion and the creation of a suite of Piedmont national forests that exist today where once there existed terrible erosion.
Paul Sutter is the author of Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South (University of Georgia Press, forthcoming in fall 2015); Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement (University of Washington Press, 2002); Environmental History and the American South: A Reader, co-edited with Christopher Manganiello (University of Georgia Press, 2009); and The Art of Managing Longleaf: A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach, with Leon Neel and Albert G. Way (University of Georgia Press, 2010).
The 2015 Lecture was held on Wednesday, November 11th, at 5:00 pm, in Field Auditorium at Environment Hall on Duke University’s West Campus (map of the area).
The Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History is sponsored by the Forest History Society, the Duke University Department of History, and the Nicholas School of the Environment.