Two vols., 8vo, pp. [iv], 8, vii, , -375, [2, errata]; [iv], 299, [2, errata], with two engraved frontispieces; two leaves in the first vol. with marginal paperflaws (no loss), three pages in vol. II slightly soiled, overall lightly browned; a very good copy in contemporary marbled calf, spines gilt with two contrasting lettering-pieces; extremities a little worn.
US $3778 €3078
the scarce first edition of one of the first books to develop ecological ideas, Rauch’s greatest achievement.
Dedicated to Napoléon, Rauch, an engineer of the Corps des Ingénieurs des Ponts et Chaussées in the Pyrenees, assesses the ecological damage done under the ancien régime, depicting a bleak picture of deforested areas in France, and in other parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. ‘On ne détruit pas un seul cercle harmonique de la nature, sans altérer toutes les consonnances qui en dépendent ...’ he writes (vol. I, p. 37), clearly anticipating our modern concept of ecological cycles, and the interdependences of the ecosystem. His first hand observations in the Pyrenees gave him the opportunity to describe the influence of forests and bio-diverse plantations on the climate, water quality, erosion, and quality of life and health. In the final chapter Rauch suggests setting up a kind of sub-ministry of the environment, with links to similar institutions at regional level. In 1821 he founded and edited the first periodical with articles on ecological matters, the Annales Européennes de physique végétale.
See Quérard, La France littéraire VII, p. 461 and Pritzel 7428 for the second edition (1818) with the title Régenération de la nature végétale.
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