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Conservation Issues in the History of New England Forests

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Several dioramas highlight conservation issues in the New England countryside. These dioramas remind us of the history of conservation issues in eastern North America, and also point up the continuity of certain conservation concerns through time.

This small stand of old-growth forest on the shore of Harvard Pond survived the regional history of land-use and natural disturbance due to its sheltered position at the base of a rocky slope that was unsuited for agriculture.In their size, variety, and unmistakable antiquity, the overstory trees... Read More >
New England's wildlife habitats and food resources have changed dramatically as the landscape has been transformed through time from forest to open fields and woodlots and then back to forest.The shift in our landscape to older, more continuously developing forests may encourage native woodland... Read More >
In New England, as in many other locations, widespread land clearing and agriculture led to soil erosion.In the pre-settlement era, the thick forest cover prevented erosion by intercepting rain and binding the soil with a dense network of roots. Through evapotranspiration, the forests recycled... Read More >
The diorama shows a typical fire-fighting scene from the 1930s, in the era of active suppression of all fires.The fire tower is typical of those built by state and federal agencies throughout the northeastern Untied states in the early 1900s, motivated by a widespread concern over the detection and... Read More >
Because severe fires are much more common in conifer than in hardwood forests, the "old-field" pine forests represented a significant fire danger. Concern by early conservationists over the apparent destructive impacts of fire on forest ecosystems led to a very successful national effort to reduce... Read More >