Settlement and arboreal vegetation change in the Carman-Morden area of southern Manitoba

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McDowell, David John
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The natural pattern of grassland and trees along the Manitoba Escarpment in the Carman-Morden area of southern Manitoba has been greatly altered since the time of the fur trade. The arboreal pattern is now a dominantly cultural one, achieved by man replacing the earlier natural associations. This change was accomplished in two overlapping phases. The first was an exploitive one, in which the forests were removed as they provided the building material and fuel for the fur traders and early settlers. The concern for availability of woodland even lead to conflict between the Ontario and Mennonite settlers, and the Canadian and United States settlers. This phase ended with the coming of the railway and the increased pressure for farmland as settlement expanded. The second phase was one in which the present arboreal environment was put in place by farmers, with assistance from the government, schools, and forestry associations. The shelter for farmstead and field crops was a direct response to desires to improve one's surroundings and to overcome the hazards of wind and drought. The present pattern of many scattered groves is the result of these developments. The trend in altering the arboreal pattern continues today as the inhabitants seek to create a more aesthetically pleasing surrounding in a prosperous agricultural area.