Encountering the Past in Nature — 2001

Essays in Environmental History

Edited by Timo Myllyntaus and Mikko Saikku

“This is a gem of a book that ought to be read by all environmental historians to remind us what we do and why.”

Michael Egan — H-Net Reviews

“A very well-written and engaging collection…This book has wide appeal…[Its] interesting style and broad scope make it an inviting read to the general reader be they interested in history, the environment, forests or Scandinavia.”

Norman Dandy — Environmental Politics

A deeper understanding of contemporary environmental problems requires us to know where we come from, and the study of environmental history will help us in that quest. Environmental history, in short, may be described as an attempt to study the interaction between humans and nature in the past. How have human societies affected their environment and vice versa? What does history tell us about ecological change?

The essays in Encountering the Past in Nature provide various approaches to the new discipline. Experts with diverse educational backgrounds tackle important issues in environmental history, ranging from the intellectual formation of environmental concepts to case studies of forest history and animal extinction. Most essays in the collection focus on the issue of wilderness and the various uses of forest resources. Encountering the Past in Nature also offers introductory essays on the historiography and methodology of this field of historical study.

Encountering the Past in Nature is a useful addition to the introductory texts currently available in the United States.


Timo Myllyntaus is senior lecturer of economic and social history at the University of Helsinki.


Mikko Saikku is assistant director of the North American Studies Program at the Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki.

Cover of 'Encountering the Past in Nature'

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