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Our Changing Forests Resources

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Suggested Readings


Descriptions below were taken from our Online Bookstore

  • Stepping Back to Look Forward: A History of the Massachusetts Forest Charles H. W. Foster, Editor

Written to celebrate the centennial of the forest and parks system in Massachusetts, this multiauthor volume provides an overview of the ecological, economic, social, and educational history of forest in the Commonwealth.

  • Agrarian Landscapes in Transition Charles Redman and David R. Foster, 2008

The introduction, spread, and abandonment of agriculture represents the most pervasive alteration of the earth's environment in recorded history. This new volume edited by Charles Redman from Arizona State University and David Foster from Harvard Forest, draws on research at six U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research sites, to describe what happens when humans alter natural ecological regimes through agricultural practices. Although each research site has its own unique agricultural history, patterns emerge that help us understand the impact of our actions on the earth, and how the earth pushes back.

  • Forests in Time The Environmental Consequences of 1000 Years of Change in New England. David R. Foster and John D. Aber, eds., 2003

Forests in Time offers a unique look at combining history and science in ecological studies and environmental management and applies this approach to one of the most remarkably transformed landscapes in North America: the New England countryside. Written in accessible prose and profusely illustrated with photographs, maps, and graphs, the book relates the history of changes in New England and then explores the results of integrated studies and experiments in this largely forested landscape.

  • New England Forests Through Time: Insights from the Harvard Forest Dioramas. David R. Foster and John F. O'Keefe, 2000

This fascinating natural history is essential background for anyone interested in New England's ecology, wildlife, or landscape. In New England Forests through time these historical and environmental lessons are told through the world-renowned dioramas in Harvard's Fisher Museum. These remarkable models have introduced New England's Landscape to countless visitors and have appeared in many ecology, forestry, and natural history texts. This first book based on the dioramas conveys the phenomenal history of the land, the beauty of the models, and new insights into nature.

  • Thoreau's Country: Journey Through a Transformed Landscape David R. Foster

Insights into the conservation and ecology of the New England Landscape based on an interpretation of its history, using as a source the journal writings of Henry David Thoreau.

Other Helpful Books and Guides:

  • Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape Tom Wessels.

Now Wessels takes that wonderful ability to discern much of the history of the forest from visual clues and boils it all down to a manageable field guide that you can take out to the woods and use to start playing forest detective yourself. Wessels has created a key—a fascinating series of either/or questions—to guide you through the process of analyzing what you see. You'll feel like a woodland Sherlock Holmes. No walk in the woods will ever be the same. 50 color photographs*

  • Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England. Tom Wessels, Brian D. Cohen and Ann H. Zwinger, 2005

Descriptions below were adapted from

Etched into the land is the history of how we have inhabited it, the storms and fires that have shaped it and its response to these and other changes. An intrepid sleuth and articulate tutor, Wessels teaches us to read a landscape the way we might solve a mystery. What exactly is the meaning of all those stone walls in the middle of the forest? Why do beech and birch trees have smooth bark when the bark of all other northern species is rough? How do you tell the age of a beaver pond and determine if beavers still live there? Why are pine trees dominant in one patch of forest and maples in another? What happened to the American chestnut? Turn to this book for the answers, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same. 60 black-and-white etchings and illustrations*

  • A Field Guide to Eastern Forests, North America John C. Kricher

This field guide "to birds, mammals, trees, flowers, and more" is a helpful resource to look at the relationship between and among species in Eastern Forests. While the Changing Forests HF Schoolyard study focusses largely on trees, the field description component of the study, looks at a more holistic picture of the forested plot. This guide may help to clarify, name, describe the plot more effectively.