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Range wars : ranching and pest eradication on British Columbia's Interior Plateau Thistle , John


Range Wars examines the environmental history of pest eradication in western North American grasslands in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Using British Columbia as a case study, the dissertation examines two closely related wars waged by ranchers and range managers against creatures they considered pests. In the first part of the study the analysis focuses on the ecological problem of grasshopper plagues and the ways in which a campaign organized to eradicate them worked to expose and exacerbate economic divisions among immigrant ranchers. Next, the study recounts a war with 'wild horses' that also served to dispossess indigenous people and discredit their competing claims to to land. Both wars aimed to accommodate cattle in increasingly degraded grasslands but the problem of range degradation went largely unsolved. By focusing on the broader social and ecological dimensions of pest eradication the study provides new perspective on North America's environmental past.

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