Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Shantz, Homer Leroy (United States 1876-1958)
botany, phytogeograpy

Photo courtesy of the Botanical Society of America.
Shantz's professional career proceeded in five steps: instructorships at several colleges and universities, eighteen years working for the USDA, a short stint as botany department head at the University of Illinois, eight years as president of the University of Arizona, and eight years as first director of the Division of Wildlife Management of the U. S. Forest Service. But even then he didn't really retire, taking on a series of consulting jobs and eventually literally dying in the field at the age of eighty-two. Shantz was originally trained as a botanist (he took an early interest in plant physiology, especially as related to drought resistance in crops), but much of his work had a strong geographical emphasis. He became immersed in regional studies in Africa and the U. S., publishing a number of (usually) plant geography-or climatology-related works making use of various descriptive, analytical, classificatory, and cartographic techniques. Shantz was an avid photographer who amassed a collection of thousands of shots from his travels; these came in handy when late in life he undertook several investigations meant to document environmental change by re-shooting sites where photos had been taken years before.

Life Chronology

--born in Kent County, Michigan, on 24 January 1876.
--1901: B.S., Colorado College
--1901-1902: botany & zoology instructor, Colorado College
--1903-1904: agricultural botany instructor, University of Nebraska
--1905: Ph.D., University of Nebraska
--1905-1906: botany instructor, University of Missouri
--1907: botany instructor, Louisiana State University
--1908-1926: works for the Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., under various titles
--1911: publishes "Natural Vegetation as an Indicator of the Capabilities of Land for Crop Production in the Great Plains Area" in the Bulletin of the Bureau of Plant Industry
--1919-1920: takes part in Smithsonian Institution African expedition
--1923: publishes his The Vegetation and Soils of Africa, with C. F. Marbut
--1923: publishes his "Vegetation Map of Africa" at 1:10,000,000 scale
--1923: publishes "The Natural Vegetation of the Great Plains Region" in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers
--1924: East African expedition; made a corresponding member of the American Geographical Society; president, Botanical Society of Washington
--1926-1928: head of the botany department, University of Illinois at Urbana
--1927: publishes "Drought Resistance and Soil Moisture" in Ecology, and "The Water Requirements of Plants at Akron, Colorado" in the Journal of Agricultural Research, with Lydia Piemeisel
--1928: president, Ecological Society of America
--1928-1936: president, University of Arizona
--1933: instrumental in creating the Saguaro National Monument, AZ
--1936-1944: first director, Division of Wildlife Management, United States Forest Service
--1937: receives the Charles Reid Barnes Life Membership Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists
--1940-1943: publishes "Agricultural Regions of Africa" in nine installments in Economic Geography
--1950: publishes "The Ecological Approach to Land Management" in Journal of Forestry
--1950 & 1954: honorary president, International Botanical Congress
--1954: receives the Association of American Geographers' Outstanding Achievement award
--1954-1956: study of changes in Colorado forests and grasslands, U.S. Forest Service
--1956: African expedition for the Office of Naval Research
--1956: receives the Botanical Society of America's Merit Award
--1958: publishes his Photographic Documentation of Vegetational Changes in Africa Over a Third of a Century, with B. L. Turner
--1958: begins Office of Naval Research project in the northern Great Plains
--dies in Rapid City, South Dakota, on 23 June 1958.

For Additional Information, See:

--Taxonomic Literature, Vol. 5 (1985).
--Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Vol. 44(2) (1963): 59-61.
--Geographical Review, Vol. 49(2) (1959): 278-280.
--Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 51(4) (1961): 392-394.

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Copyright 2007 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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