Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991 Page: 26
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A Legacy of Change: Historic
Human Impact on
Vegetation of the Arizona
By Conrad Joseph Bahre. University of
Arizona Press, Tucson.
A few books have documented the
changing landscapes of the Southwest, and
all attest to the catastrophic changes
wreaked by ranching, logging, farming, and
mining during the late 19th century. This
fine analysis joins others such as Kirk
Bryan's early geological studies and "The
Changing Mile," by Hastings and Turner,
which contrasts historical photographs
from different periods of use and abuse.
Author Bahre takes exception with those
who have argued that climatic controls
were preeminent, as did Hastings and
Turner, and presents here a fine exposition
of data in support of his argument that
human intervention in the landscape has
played the significant part in the last few
centuries. In fact, his exposition of developmental
processes on the 19th century
frontier of southeastern Arizona demonstrates
that they are hauntingly similar to
those in developing Third World countries
around the globe today. As witnesses to the
effects of devastation from overdevelopment,
we should also be challenged by the
renewing and healing potential of the land
and look for lessons from accounts like this
to mend the rips in our global fabric.
Bahre argues that vegetation communities
have not changed in their extent and
range; rather, the percentage of woody vegetation
such as oak and juniper have increased
with the suppression of fire and overgrazing.
So, he contends, climate has had
little effect on the changes wreaked from
This is an excellent introduction to geographic
studies of arid lands and of human
abuses of the landscape. It is well-written,
solid in its arguments, and should stimulate
concern for our present uses and abuses of
our natural and cultural environment.
A Texas Legacy: The Old
San Antonio Road and the
Caminos Reales, A
Edited by A. Joachim McGraw, John W.
Clark, Jr., and Elizabeth A. Robbins. Texas
Department of Highways and Public Transportation,
Highway Design Division, Austin.
This volume presents a documentary
history and preservation plan for one of the
earliest and most enduring of the colonial
impressions on the landscape of east and
south Texas. The Caminos Reales, as this
volume demonstrates, was not a single trail,
but rather consisted of at least five different
routes. Expediency may have dictated even
more. in areas where weather or hostile
Indians presented problems.
The editors of this report have done a
fine job in compiling primary records from
diaries, maps, and travel accounts to document
the road. They have expanded on the
interpretation of surveyor V.N. Zivley who
plotted the road in 1916. It was his route
that Texas Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution commemorated with
markers at notable locales.
The project was commissioned by the
Texas Legislature in honor of the 300th
anniversary of the Old San Antonio Road,
and this publication is the result of a collaborative
effort among historians, archaeologists,
biologists, and preservation planners.
A major goal of the program has been
to provide an historic context for the Old
Spanish Trail within which to evaluate the
significance of component sites. This is an
essential step in preservation planning. At
the same time, the development of this
context has resulted in an excellent introduction
to the Spanish settlement of south
and east Texas. The book includes numerous
photographs, maps, and primary documentation
from diaries and travel itineraries,
along with a comprehensive bibliography.
It is a fine addition to the regional
John Peterson is a professional archaeologist
_ and the book review editor of HERITAGE.
26 HERITAGE * FALL 1991
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991, periodical, Autumn 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45425/m1/26/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.