The Caddo people occupied these lands several thousand years ago. The Choctaws were forced out of eastern US and settled here in 1830. These early peoples had little impact on the region’s forests, although they did clear some lands for agriculture and used fire. White settlement started to show up in the late 1800s.
Some inkling of what was going on by this time is reflected in a report issued by the US Geological Survey in 1900 - The Woodlands of Indian Territory. This report was based upon extensive fieldwork from 1895 to 1898, about the time Oklahoma’s timber industry was in its infancy.