Countless technologies introduced in the 19th century had consequences for the environment. For example, the steamboats that plied the waters of the Mississippi River and other waters used wood for fuel. According to historian F. Terry Norris:
“Throughout the early and mid-nineteenth century, the increasing demand for steamboat fuel resulted in widespread deforestation of riverbanks within the central Mississippi River valley.”
Deforestation had consequences for the animal species that relied on the forest for their habitat, as well as for biodiversity in general. And it also had negative effects on human settlements. As Norris continues:
“Deforestation, in turn, caused the bank lines of the Mississippi River to become unstable, resulting in significant lateral channel movement. That movement, and associated loss of portions of the floodplain, resulted in the destruction and significant damage to all but one of the colonial settlements within the central Mississippi River valley prior to 1763.”
This is just one historical example that points to the domino effect deforestation often has. As forests are cleared for short-term gain, humans and animals alike suffer the longer-term consequences: in this case, flooding, and the forced abandonment of settlements.