In Man and nature George Perkins Marsh challenged the general belief that human impact on nature was generally benign or negligible and charged that ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean had brought about their own collapse by their abuse of the environment. By deforesting their hillsides and eroding their soils, they had destroyed the natural fertility that sustained their well-being. Marsh offered his compatriots in the United States a stern warning that the young American republic might repeat these errors of the ancient world if it failed to end its own destructive waste of natural resources. Marsh's ominous warnings inspired conservation and reform. In linking culture with nature, science with history, Man and nature was the most influential text of its time next to Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published just five years earlier. Although what we know and what we fear about the environment have vastly amplified since Marsh's day, his appraisal of forest cover and erosion remains largely valid, his cautions about watershed control still cognent, and his call for stewardship ever more pertinent. Foreword: A classic of conservation / by William Cronon -- Introduction to the 2003 edition / by David Lowenthal -- Preface -- Introductory -- Transfer, modification, and extirpation of vegetable and animal species -- The woods -- The waters -- The sands -- Projected or possible geographical changes by man.