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Bullard Spotlight: Lynda Mapes on the Cutting of our First Forests

February 22, 2023
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Lynda Mapes interviews Jerry Franklin at Harvard Forest.

Author and newspaper reporter Lynda Mapes is two-thirds of the way through her 10-month residency at Harvard Forest's Charles Bullard Fellowship program. 

During her Fellowship, Lynda is researching and writing a book that takes an intimate look at the cutting of our first forests and what that has meant for Native cultures and ecologies. The book travels from First Nations territories in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, where logging of old growth is still going on, to the historical bookend of Wabanaki territory, where this all began with the arrival of the newcomers and industrial logging. The book showcases Indigenous-led conservation movements on both coasts and work underway to vision an alternative future, beyond continued extraction of ever-lower value forest products.

Lynda Mapes with David Orwig, coring old growth trees in the Adirondacks.

Lynda's presence has been felt at the Forest for a while now: after her first Bullard Fellowship in 2014-15, her remarkable book, "Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak", inspired its main character to start their own Twitter account.

Intimate relationships with forest communities are foundational for Harvard Forest's researchers, and Lynda continues to inspire thoughtful connections through her novel approaches to writing. "I wanted to collaborate with people here looking deeply into the past and future of our forests and communities," says Lynda. 

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