Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Oscar H. Horst

Second Advisor

Dr. Cyril Stout

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



In Allegan County, Michigan, there exists an area of land known as the Allegan State Forest (Figs. 1 and 2). The Forest compromises 35,755 acres of land and is located just west of the city of Allegan.1 It is an area primarily noted for its forestry, wildfire conservation, and recreational facilities. Before becoming a state forest and prior to the 1930's, this land passed through sequential occupance by Indians, pioneers, lumberman, and farmers. When the forest area was first settled, the land was abundantly covered with trees. The trees soon became the victims of the lumbermen's axe, and once the trees were gone the land was exposed to the farmer's plow. This course of events occurred in many areas of southern Michigan without any drastic effects, but in west-central Allegan County, the physical environment was such that the land was rendered completely unfit for agricultural purposes.