Cover image for The Everglades : an environmental history
The Everglades : an environmental history
McCally, David, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxii, 215 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GE155.E84 M34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"[A] detailed and lively environmental history of the Everglades. Those interested in anthropology, geology, and American history will also find much to fascinate them as McCally traces the ecosystem's development from its geologic origins through the first human habitation to today's threats by development and agriculture."-- Library Journal

"Admirable . . . an interesting and informative historical account of the Everglades."-- Journal of Economic History

"A powerful book that might disturb some and energize others." -- St. Petersburg Times

"An engaging, fascinating, and fine-grained narrative that is good history with an activist edge. It will change the way we think about the Everglades."--Mart A. Stewart, Western Washington University, author of "What Nature Suffers to Groe": Life, Labor, and Landscape on the Georgia Coast

This important work for general readers and environmentalists alike offers the first major discussion of the formation, development, and history of the Everglades, considered by many to be the most endangered ecosystem in North America. Comprehensive in scope, it begins with South Florida's geologic origins--before the Everglades became wetlands--and continues through the 20th century, when sugar reigned as king of the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Urging restoration of the Everglades, McCally argues that agriculture, especially sugar growing, must be abandoned or altered. Sure to be influential in all discussions of Florida's future, The Everglades also will be significant for environmentalists focused on any area of North America.

David McCally teaches U.S. history at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus, and environmental history at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.

Author Notes

David McCally teaches U.S. history at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg campus, and environmental history at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

During the past 300 years the Everglades of Florida, a unique community driven by local hydrology, climate, and geology, have been variously described as a useless wasteland and a national environmental treasure. McCally (history, Univ. of South Florida, St. Petersburg/Eckerd College, St. Petersburg) reviews this landscape's history, stressing the human ecology and decisions that have created today's debate on restoration of the historic ecological patterns. First, the ecological determinants of the system are beautifully described for the nonspecialist. The bulk of the book records the human influences on the land and how they have changed since European settlement. The native populations little changed the basic ecosystem, but disease and slave raids decimated these peoples. European attitudes encouraged technological change to increase economic value; subsequent attempts at drainage and large-scale agriculture, predominantly for sugar cane, coupled with hunting for wildlife products, changed the region's ecosystem function. Later, salt-water intrusion caused new efforts to increase water flow. The discussion of the feather trade here, for example, is a remarkable story of how short-term fashion can devastate wildlife; its history is an excellent case study of the changing role that politics and ecological knowledge can have on legal issues. General readers; upper-division undergraduates; professionals. S. N. Handel; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick

Table of Contents

Raymond Arsenault and Gary R. Mormino
List of Tables and Figuresp. XIII
Forewordp. XV
Prefacep. XVII
1. A Changing Landscapep. 1
The Mature System
2. Changing Peoplesp. 31
Paleo and Archaic Indians
The Calusa
The Spanish
3. The Derelict Landp. 58
The Making of a Derelict Land, 1513-1714
The Custard Apple Swamp
The Everglades Trough
The Miami Rocklands
The Mangrove Fringe
The Derelict System
4. Drainagep. 84
Nineteenth-Century Prelude
The Progressive Drainage Effort, 1903-1913
5. Drainage Reconsidered and Pioneer Settlement, 1912-1924p. 106
Drainage Reconsidered, 1912-1913
Pioneer Settlement, 1883-1924
6. Perfecting the Developmental Systemp. 129
Drainage in the Era of the Randolph Plan, 1913-1928
The Corps of Engineers, 1926-1947
A Too-Dry Land, 1938-1948
Comprehensive Water Control Begins in 1948
7. The Fruits of Developmentp. 154
Soil Productivity
Land Consolidation, 1920-1940
Everglades Agricultural Area, 1950 to the Present
Epilogue: Restorationp. 175
Notesp. 183
Bibliographyp. 199
Indexp. 211