||European settlement permanently changed the character of Illinois forests. This section presents information on how the settlers used forest resources for building materials, fuel, and food. It describes the settlement of forested lands, how they were initially used as agricultural areas, and how they were later used to support the timber industry. It also addresses the changes in forests caused by fire suppression.
preferred the forests
settlers favored the forested regions of Illinois over the prairies. The
reasons the settlers preferred the forests over the prairies were both
practical and spiritual. Many came from forested environments in the south
and east. Generations before them had lived in the forested regions of
Europe. There was a sheltering aspect to the forests that was lacking out
on the open prairie. The forest provided trees that were needed for construction
materials and fuel.
of Illinois settlers
entered the state mainly from the south. Many settlers came from Kentucky
and Tennessee, a few from the north and east, and some emigrated from Europe.
The southern counties along the Mississippi and the Wabash Rivers were
well settled before 1818, and in general, settlement proceeded northward
along the forested rivers and streams.
found in the forests a wealth of resources they could use to make Illinois