Miami: Everglade Land Sales, 1912.
Hardcover. Very good-. Second edition, much enlarged from the first, published in 1911. 8vo, 226 pp + index, illustrated with half-tone photographs and line drawings. Original pictorial cloth boards, rebacked, with new endpapers (original endpapers also retained). Some staining to front board, otherwise clean and sound. During his 1904 campaign to be elected governor of Florida, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward (to whom this book is dedicated) promised to drain the Everglades, sparking a real estate boom in south Florida. The resulting increase in both residential development, tourism, and especially hunting, had a devastating impact on the numbers of wading birds, alligators, and other Everglades animals. John Gifford was, somewhat paradoxically, the first American to receive a doctorate in Forestry and also a real estate entrepreneur. After moving to Coconut Grove in 1902, he enthusiastically endorsed the land drainage movement and helped it along by introducing non-native trees that would dry up the wetlands by absorbing water. He introduced the Australian cajupet melaleuca, a hearty tree that over the past century "has literally taken over many natural communities, crowding out the area's valued native species. In fact, the eradication of melaleuca and other exotic pest plants has become a primary goal in Everglades restoration" (Everglades Digital Library). This book collects essays Gifford published in local magazines in support of his various land reclamation schemes and provides a useful window into the history of this movement, which is now generally acknowledged to have been misguided.