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Kenneth M. Sylvester photo

Revising the Dust Bowl: High Above the Kansas Grasslands

Publication Abstract

Sylvester, Kenneth M., and E.S A. Rupley. 2012. "Revising the Dust Bowl: High Above the Kansas Grasslands." Environmental History, 17(3): 603-633.

This article reconstructs land cover patterns in Depression-era Kansas from historical aerial photos and compares the locations of crop fields to areas of submarginal land identified in modern digital soil survey maps. The analysis argues that New Deal land retirement programs overestimated the degree of bad land use because they lacked the basic science to make comprehensive assessments. The findings demonstrate that the misuse of land unfit for cultivation was relatively rare across the central plains but especially in the Dust Bowl region.

DOI:10.1093/envhis/ems047 (Full Text)

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