American Environmental Photographs, 1891-1936: Images from the University of Chicago Library
Industrialization and Conservation
At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States was evolving into an increasingly industrial nation. Increased manufacturing required enormous amounts of natural resources. The supply of raw materials seemed endless, and the negative effects of their use seemed negligible. However, as the photographs in this collection demonstrate, natural resources are finite. The negative impact on the environment and the ecology is visible.
Photographs of lumbering in western Maryland, Washington state, and California document the large-scale harvesting of natural resources and its impact on the landscape. Search on lumbering for images such as these, of Krug, Maryland. This series of photographs documents the logging process from the forest to the sawmill.
- What might these trees have been used for at the turn of the twentieth century?
- What are the short- and long-term impacts on the environment of the harvesting methods used?
- How might these men have harvested lumber with less impact on the natural ecology?
- What lumbering techniques are used today?
- Why would the effects of industrialization be of particular interest to ecologists?
Search the collection on mining, erosion, and environmental destruction to see additional images of the impact of the industrial age on the landscape. Learn about the ways ecology contributed to the attitudes and practices of conservation in America in the Special Presentation, "Ecology and the American Environment." For additional resources, browse the collection The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.