From semitropical coastal areas to high mountain terrain, from swampy lowlands to modern cities, the environment holds a fundamental importance in shaping the character of the American South. This volume of ""The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture"" surveys the dynamic environmental forces that have shaped human culture in the region - and the ways humans have shaped their environment. Articles examine how the South's ecology, physiography, and climate have influenced southerners - not only as a daily fact of life but also as a metaphor for understanding culture and identity. This volume includes ninety-eight essays that explore - both broadly and specifically - elements of the southern environment. Thematic overviews address subjects such as plants, animals, energy use and development, and natural disasters. Shorter topical entries feature familiar species such as the alligator, the ivory-billed woodpecker, kudzu, and the mockingbird. Also covered are important individuals in southern environmental history and prominent places in the landscape, such as the South's national parks and seashores. New articles cover contemporary issues in land use and conservation, environmental protection, and the current status of the flora and fauna widely associated with the South.
Martin V. Melosi, Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Houston and coeditor of the History of the Urban Environment series, is the author of Effluent America: Cities, Industry, Energy, and the Environment.