Until 12,000 years ago, virtually all of New England and all of Illinois were covered in thousands of feet of ice. But still when I read it I wonder how applicable some of these stories are to what I see in front of me. Human additions to the landscapes are included as a natural and important part of the history. I've already ordered myself a copy! Who knew that New England was covered by glaciers as recently as 15,000 years ago? Then in the 1700's, the British started cutting large straight pines, for ship masts, and by the early 1800's, huge numbers of sheep had been introduced which is why most of the stone walls you see remnants of today were built. The book teaches you how to be a forest sleuth and ascertain the history. There is so many wonderful pieces of information contained in this book that it was impossible to take it all in a single pass.
Highly recommended if you love walking through the woods and sometimes wonder what that stump would say if it could talk. The writing itself is not as fun some other Naturalists I've read. Thank you for this excellent, informative read! For a New Englander interested in natural history and without much of an ecology background, it sheds light on many of the landscape features and processes that may be missed or misunderstood. Wessels begins each cryptically named chapter with an etching of a forest scene by Brain Cohen , some of which portray actual sites, some of which are idealized. Elegant drawings and clear prose guide Wessels' reader to understand the sticks, stones, soils, and streams encountered during any hike in New England woods. There are elements of the drawings in the page margins that highlight the clues.
Then in the early 1900's, hemlock and then, a little later, elm became decimated by disease. Each chapter is headed by an etching of a particular scene. Fantastic book from 1997 with lovely design and etchings that truly enhance the clear teaching style of the writing. When I first read the book, in fact, I recognized many of the lessons from walks in the Vermont woods that I had taken with a National Park Service ranger who had studied with This is one of several books that I have sometimes assigned in my class on land protection, along with the more management-oriented Thoreau's Country by David Foster. The book focuses on central New England forests, which he defines as reaching roughly from the Southern half of Vermont to the Northern half of Massachusetts, and stretching eastwards to the coast of Maine. Now, which one is it? This approach has sure helped me in my understanding in my daily traverses of nearby woodlands.
This is a wonderful book; it contains much of the information that your grandfather would tell you if you were out tromping in the woods with him. Wessels describes the outlines from which we can read a larger story. The etchings and layout make it a beautiful book to hold and browse through, and it begged to be picked up at all free moments until I had read it through. And Lake Vermont, some 700 feet higher than today's Lake Champlain, was five times larger than present day Lake Champlain. There is an excellent appendix with a New England chronology, reading list, a good summary of disturbance types and clues, a list of plant indicators, and a glossary. Books that have entertained me. Forget John LeCarre-it's Tom Wessels you want on your nightstand.
It ends on a somewhat depressing note describing the contemporary problems facing our forests. The last chapter tells of Wessels' concerns about the effects of global warming, and atmospheric deposition of acids, heavy metals, ozones, and pesticides. Each scene represents an integral part of New England's history and ecology, as well as the botanical cycles of each plant that grows there. Why is another part of the same forest covered with many ancient trees yet there is a large section of nothing but saplings right in the center of it? Turn to this book for the answers, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same. How do you tell the age of a beaver pond and determine if beavers still live there? Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England.
The author writes in a style that is engaging and informative. And notice how that apple tree has many branches down low, but then has a strong trunk above them with few branches. I happen to be right in the middle of this area, so I can benefit the most from the author's insights, but there are enough tidbits of information for anyone in any geographical region to benefit from to make this purchase well worthwhile. Most of our woodlands are second or third growth; Wessels teaches us how to assess what happened and when to a woodland based on subtle clues like tree species composition, age and condition of existing trees, details of topography and substrata, and composition of stone walls. If one were to give this bo I don't live in New England and, being an urban dweller and disinclined to take long car rides to get to a forest, spend little time in the woods.
If you are not already familiar with the different kinds of tree, you may want a tree identification book too. At the outset of each chapter, Wessels shows us a simple print of a forest. Disturba This is an well-written, nicely-illustrated book that describes Wessels innovative work on teasing out the local history of woodland disturbance in the northeast U. The bedrock of the book is patient, graceful storytelling. That's a simple transition, but it really helps you stay in the flow of the writing.
This book is packed with knowledge and not preachy. Since 1995 he has served as an for the SmartWood Program in the. And so in Tom Wessels recounting what previously transpired, he has to take into account what Native Americans did to the landscape to alter it for their needs such as clearing areas by fire. The way he breaks down the natural history of New England is fascinating, even intoxicating if you are into this stuff. Yet, elusive has been the experience of which I can claim — entirely absent of effusive smarm — to have witnessed, almost in real-time, a distinct reorganization of the foundational manner in which I approach a subject. First of all, it directly applies to where I live- on the Maine coast, at the northern extreme of the map at the front of the book. I'm probably not very good at it yet, but before reading this book all I had was curiosity.
Sure, maybe those trees are gone now, but they're part of this story. It could be logging, fire, beavers, blowdowns, blight, or even farming. An intrepid sleuth and articulate tutor, Wessels teaches us to read a landscape the way we might solve a mystery. As we hiked the ought he woods, I had repeated questions about the ecology: how long does it take for a fallen tree to decompose? The book will help even beginners understand more about the forests surrounding them, although it helps if readers can at least recognize a beech tree from a maple or a pine before they start. Yes, I am a geek because this stuff fascinates me. Yes, I am a geek because this stuff fascinates me. Step by step, the author takes us through clues to the history of a New England forest.