Books et al.Ecology

Colonialism and its consequences

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Science  05 Jun 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6495, pp. 1071
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc2285

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Summary

The area known as Beringia sits atop the world, straddling Asia and North America. A mere 50 miles of water separate the Chukchi Peninsula in Russia and the Seward Peninsula in the United States. Terrestrial plant life is relatively impoverished here, but the Bering Strait compensates for the land's parsimony and more. In Floating Coast, Bathsheba Demuth tells the story of this singular place beginning in the mid-1800s. Empire-making was under way then, both by the United States and by Russia, and the lifeways of native Iñupiat, Yupik, and Chuckchi peoples were about to be severely curtailed. So too were the natural histories of the species that contributed to making the region.

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