The peculiar character of our American forest geography early attracted the attention of intelligent observers. Civilized men, Frenchmen, crossing the continent from the Atlantic seaboard, after threading for two hundred leagues a forest almost unbroken, suddenly found themselves in the presence of vast treeless plains, extending westward across a large portion of the central Mississippi Valley. In wonder and admiration the voyageur looked upon these great plains, grass-grown and flower-bedecked, and found them counterpart to the green meadows of France; to them he gave the name prairie, a word now so familiar as to have long lost for all English-speaking men every vestige of foreign origin. How these great meadows ever came to exist or persist in the region where they first were seen, or why the forests of the east should so suddenly stop was a problem the voyageur could not solve, and has been a problem from the days of the voyageur until now.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Sciences
©1895 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
MacBride, T. H.
"Notes on Forest Distribution in Iowa,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 3(1), 96-101.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol3/iss1/27