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Thoreau the Land Surveyor$
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Patrick Chura

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034935

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034935.001.0001

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The Science of the Field Notes

The Science of the Field Notes

(p.107) 6 The Science of the Field Notes
Thoreau the Land Surveyor

Patrick Chura

University Press of Florida

Describing his work in a manner that repeatedly focuses on his unconventional methods and nonacquisitive purposes, Thoreau relates significant discoveries about seed dispersal and tree succession made while surveying. In doing so, he inculcates an argument that emphasizes the benefits of surveying and mitigates its potentially destructive effects. Within Thoreau's assertions that “oaks almost invariably die if the pines are not cut,” and that by the harvesting of pines “we find ourselves at last doing as Nature does,” some critics have detected a somewhat defensive plea for recognition of the ways the speaker's own role in deforestation conforms to an underlying design.

Keywords:   field notes, oaks, pines, scientific research, forest trees, deforestation

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