||6 IS UTAH SAHARA BOUND? for settlements throughout Utah and the surrounding areas in a deliberate attempt to pre-empt for the Mormon people all of the agricultural resources of the territory. Within thirteen years most of the important towns from Logan on the north to St. George on the south had been founded. A glance at a Utah map shows a familiar and rather constant pattern of ecological factors determining these sites.27 Each is located at the base of a mountain front, at an altitude conducive to the growth of a variety of farm crops, on a valley plain of rich soil where mountain streams supply water sufficient for irrigation and culinary purposes. Sites thus selected for settlement were provided with nearby pasture land that furnished year-round feed for farm livestock and with an expanse of desert range suitable for winter grazing. Mountains nearby provided a perpetual flow of life-giving water, timber for building, wood for fuel, and forage for the summer grazing of range stock. Each of these factors of habitat thus furnished a vital and necessary link in the economic chain that supported our rural communities. The weakening of any link, as we shall see, necessarily jeopardized the whole human ecological structure. This should be a festive year. It should also be a year of serious reflection and meditation. Every citizen of this state who loves to call Utah "home" and who regards it as a permanent abode for his children and their posterity should become informed of the nature of the resources that support us and of what a century of white-man exploitation has done to them. Are we planning for the day when our obviously expendable resources, such as the Bingham Copper Mine, will have spent themselves? Are the potentially renewable resources of agriculture being managed on a sustained yield basis, or are they too being "mined" of their perpetual productivity? Can this civilization of ours, situated as it is in a semi-arid land, look with complacence to a permanently productive future when history speaks so repeatedly and so eloquently of the failures of Old World civilizations nurtured in a similar desert environment? Must history repeat itself? Are we destined to follow the short road to glory and the long, painful road to poverty and decay that Mesopotamia, the Holy Land, Alexandria and Greece followed? These are questions desperately important to all of us, and to people best informed they are questions terrifying in their implications. If we accept the general thesis that the soil and plant resources of Utah over the past century were perforce the fundamental basis of our economy and for the foreseeable future must continue to be so, this is a propitious time for an inventory of them. It would seem logical to reconstruct, if we can, a picture of the vegetation of our state as the pioneer fathers found it; to observe the changes in plant life, soil and water resources induced by this new human exploitation of the land; to view the effects of these changes on our past and present economy, together with the implications they hold for our economic future; and, finally, to consider necessary remedial measures.