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Amazonia in the Anthropocene
People, Soils, Plants, Forests
By Nicholas C. Kawa
University of Texas Press, 2016

Widespread human alteration of the planet has led many scholars to claim that we have entered a new epoch in geological time: the Anthropocene, an age dominated by humanity. This ethnography is the first to directly engage the Anthropocene, tackling its problems and paradoxes from the vantage point of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Drawing from extensive ethnographic research, Nicholas Kawa examines how pre-Columbian Amerindians and contemporary rural Amazonians have shaped their environment, describing in vivid detail their use and management of the region’s soils, plants, and forests. At the same time, he highlights the ways in which the Amazonian environment resists human manipulation and control—a vital reminder in this time of perceived human dominance. Written in engaging, accessible prose, Amazonia in the Anthropocene offers an innovative contribution to debates about humanity’s place on the planet, encouraging deeper ecocentric thinking and a more inclusive vision of ecology for the future.


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An Arkansas Florilegium
The Atlas of Botanist Edwin Smith Illustrated by Naturalist Kent Bonar
Edwin Smith
University of Arkansas Press, 2017
An Arkansas Florilegium is a late-flowering extension of the work initiated sixty years ago with University of Arkansas botanist Edwin B. Smith’s first entries in his pioneering Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas. Soon after this seminal survey of the state’s flora was published in 1978, Kent Bonar, a Missouri-born Thoreau acolyte employed as a naturalist by the Arkansas Park Service, began lugging the volume along on hikes through the woods surrounding his Newton County home, entering hundreds upon hundreds of meticulous illustrations into Smith’s work.

Thirty-five years later, with Smith retired and Bonar long gone from the park service but still drawing, Bonar’s weathered and battered copy of the atlas was seized by a diverse cadre of amateur admirers motivated by fears of its damage or loss. Their fears were certainly justified; after all, the pages were now jammed to the margins with some 3,500 drawings, and the volume had already survived one accidental dunking in an Ozark stream.

An Arkansas Florilegium brings Smith’s and Bonar’s knowledge and lifelong diligence to the world in this unique mix of art, science, and Arkansas saga.

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Carex of Illinois and Surrounding States
The Oval Sedges
Michael Murphy, Greg Spyreas, and Paul Marcum
University of Illinois Press, 2024
A common group of plants in the Midwest’s natural areas, the oval sedges supply food for wildlife while their roots bind the soil and their vegetation creates habitat. Carex of Illinois and Surrounding States: The Oval Sedges offers a guide to the identification, distribution, and natural history of this diverse group of plants. Focused on the Carex section Cyperoideae, the editors cover Illinois’ twenty-five species, every oval sedge in Indiana and Kentucky, and nearly every species in Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. A two-step process helps users recognize the notoriously difficult-to-identify plants while illustrations and labeled photographs aid users in evaluating morphological characteristics. The editors also furnish first-ever distribution maps for Illinois’ recently described species and varieties plus up-to-date maps for nearly every other species.

Drawing on the study of thousands of specimens, Carex of Illinois and Surrounding States: The Oval Sedges is an invaluable resource for botanists, ecologists, environmental engineers, and professional and amateur environmentalists interested in a deeper understanding of these essential plants.


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Dead Wood
The Afterlife of Trees
Ellen Wohl
Oregon State University Press, 2022
The west is full of magnificent trees: mighty spruces, towering cedars, and stout firs. We are used to appreciating trees during their glory years, but how often do we consider what happens to a tree when it dies? We’ve all seen driftwood on the beach. But how many people have truly looked at it and appreciated its ecological role?
Ellen Wohl has thought about these questions, and In Dead Wood, she takes us through the afterlife of trees, describing the importance of standing and downed dead wood in forests, in rivers, along beaches, in the open ocean, and even at the deepest parts of the seafloor. Downed wood in the forest provides habitat for diverse plants and animals, and the progressive decay of the wood releases nutrients into the soil. Wood in rivers provides critical habitat for stream insects and fish and can accumulate in logjams that divert the river repeatedly across the valley floor, creating a floodplain mosaic that is rich in habitat and biodiversity. Driftwood on the beach helps to stabilize shifting sand, creating habitat for plants and invertebrates. Fish such as tuna congregate at driftwood in the open ocean. As driftwood becomes saturated and sinks to the ocean floor, collections of sunken wood provide habitat and nutrients for deep-sea organisms. Far from being an unsightly form of waste that needs to be cleaned from forests, beaches, and harbors, dead wood is a critical resource for many forms of life.
Dead Wood follows the afterlives of three trees: a spruce in the Colorado Rocky Mountains that remains on the floodplain after death; a redcedar in Washington that is gradually transported downstream to the Pacific; and a poplar in the Mackenzie River of Canada that is transported to the Arctic Ocean. With these three trees, Wohl encourages readers to see beyond landscapes, to appreciate the ecological processes that drive rivers and forests and other ecosystems, and demonstrates the ways that the life of an ecosystem carries on even when individual members of that system have died. Readers will discover that trees can have an exceptionally rich afterlife—one tightly interwoven with the lives of humans and ecosystems.

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Ecology and Recovery of Eastern Old-Growth Forests
Edited by Andrew M. Barton and William S. Keeton
Island Press, 2018
The landscapes of North America, including eastern forests, have been shaped by humans for millennia, through fire, agriculture, hunting, and other means. But the arrival of Europeans on America’s eastern shores several centuries ago ushered in the rapid conversion of forests and woodlands to other land uses. By the twentieth century, it appeared that old-growth forests in the eastern United States were gone, replaced by cities, farms, transportation networks, and second-growth forests. Since that time, however, numerous remnants of eastern old growth have been discovered, meticulously mapped, and studied. Many of these ancient stands retain surprisingly robust complexity and vigor, and forest ecologists are eager to develop strategies for their restoration and for nurturing additional stands of old growth that will foster biological diversity, reduce impacts of climate change, and serve as benchmarks for how natural systems operate.
Forest ecologists William Keeton and Andrew Barton bring together a volume that breaks new ground in our understanding of ecological systems and their importance for forest resilience in an age of rapid environmental change. This edited volume covers a broad geographic canvas, from eastern Canada and the Upper Great Lakes states to the deep South. It looks at a wide diversity of ecosystems, including spruce-fir, northern deciduous, southern Appalachian deciduous, southern swamp hardwoods, and longleaf pine. Chapters authored by leading old-growth experts examine topics of contemporary forest ecology including forest structure and dynamics, below-ground soil processes, biological diversity, differences between historical and modern forests, carbon and climate change mitigation, management of old growth, and more.
This thoughtful treatise broadly communicates important new discoveries to scientists, land managers, and students and breathes fresh life into the hope for sensible, effective management of old-growth stands in eastern forests.

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Emerald Labyrinth
A Scientist's Adventures in the Jungles of the Congo
Eli Greenbaum
University Press of New England, 2017
Emerald Labyrinth is a scientist and adventurer’s chronicle of years exploring the rainforests of sub-Saharan Africa. The richly varied habitats of the Democratic Republic of the Congo offer a wealth of animal, plant, chemical, and medical discoveries. But the country also has a deeply troubled colonial past and a complicated political present. Author Eli Greenbaum is a leading expert in sub-Saharan herpetology—snakes, lizards, and frogs—who brings a sense of wonder to the question of how science works in the twenty-first century. Along the way he comes face to face with spitting cobras, silverback mountain gorillas, wild elephants, and the teenaged armies of AK-47-toting fighters engaged in the continent’s longest-running war. As a bellwether of the climate and biodiversity crises now facing the planet, the Congo holds the key to our planet’s future. Writing in the tradition of books like The Lost City of Z, Greenbaum seeks out the creatures struggling to survive in a war-torn, environmentally threatened country. Emerald Labyrinth is an extraordinary book about the enormous challenges and hard-won satisfactions of doing science in one of the least known, least hospitable places on earth.

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Enchanted Forests
The Poetic Construction of a World before Time
Boria Sax
Reaktion Books, 2023
Linking literature, philosophy, art, and personal experience, a moving exploration of the wooded landscape’s power.
In 1985 Boria Sax inherited an area of forest in New York State, which had been purchased by his Russian, Jewish, and Communist grandparents as a buffer against what they felt was a hostile world. For Sax, in the years following, the woodland came to represent a link with those who currently live and had lived there, including Native Americans, settlers, bears, deer, turtles, and migrating birds. In this personal and eloquent account, Sax explores the meanings and cultural history of forests from prehistory to the present, taking in Gilgamesh, Virgil, Dante, the Gawain poet, medieval alchemists, the Brothers Grimm, Hudson River painters, Latin American folklore, contemporary African novelists, and much more. Combining lyricism with contemporary scholarship, Sax opens new emotional, intellectual, and environmental perspectives on the storied history of the forest.

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Exploring the Big Woods
A Guide to the Last Great Forest of the Arkansas Delta
Matthew D. Moran
University of Arkansas Press, 2016

Exploring the Big Woods: A Guide to the Last Great Forest of Eastern Arkansas is both a natural history and a guide to one of the last remnants of Mississippi bottomland forest, an ecosystem that once stretched from southern Illinois to the Gulf Coast.

Crossed by the White River and its tributaries, which periodically flood and release nutrients, the Big Woods is one of the few places in the Mississippi River Valley where this life-giving flood cycle persists. As a result, it is home to an unusual abundance of animals and plants.

Immense cypresses, hickories, sweetgums, oaks, and sycamores; millions of migrating waterfowl; incredible scenery; and the complex relationship between humans and nature are all to be discovered here.

Exploring the Big Woods will introduce readers to the natural features, plants, animals, and hiking and canoeing trails going deep into the forests and swamps of this rare and beautiful natural resource.


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Field Guide to the Lichens of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Erin Tripp
University of Tennessee Press, 2020
With 909 recognized species of lichens, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) is home to more of these lichenized fungi than any other national park in the United States, as well as nearly half of all species known to occur in eastern North America. There is a great deal of room for scientific exploration, inquiry, and systematic description in the realm of lichenology. In Field Guide to the Lichens of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Erin Tripp and James Lendemer take on the formidable task of creating an all-in-one resource for Park exploration, including lichen distribution maps, tools for identification, vivid photographs and illustrations, and even field notes from their own research campaigns. In the process, the authors create a touchstone for lichen taxonomy and ecology, and they inspire others—researchers as well as casual observers—to take interest in the incredible biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains. Biologists, botanists, visitors to the park, naturalists, and others interested in the flora and fauna of both the southern Appalachians and GSMNP will thoroughly enjoy this lovingly prepared field guide.

front cover of Firestorm
How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future
Edward Struzik
Island Press, 2019
"Frightening...Firestorm comes alive when Struzik discusses the work of offbeat scientists."  —New York Times Book Review

"Comprehensive and compelling." —Booklist

"A powerful message." —Kirkus

"Should be required reading." —Library Journal 

For two months in the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast.” It acted like a mythical animal, alive with destructive energy, and they hoped never to see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like the Beast are commonplace. A glance at international headlines shows a remarkable increase in higher temperatures, stronger winds, and drier lands– a trifecta for igniting wildfires like we’ve rarely seen before.

This change is particularly noticeable in the northern forests of the United States and Canada. These forests require fire to maintain healthy ecosystems, but as the human population grows, and as changes in climate, animal and insect species, and disease cause further destabilization, wildfires have turned into a potentially uncontrollable threat to human lives and livelihoods.

Our understanding of the role fire plays in healthy forests has come a long way in the past century. Despite this, we are not prepared to deal with an escalation of fire during periods of intense drought and shorter winters, earlier springs, potentially more lightning strikes and hotter summers. There is too much fuel on the ground, too many people and assets to protect, and no plan in place to deal with these challenges.

In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the 21st century. Wildfires can no longer be treated as avoidable events because the risk and dangers are becoming too great and costly. Struzik weaves a heart-pumping narrative of science, economics, politics, and human determination and points to the ways that we, and the wilder inhabitants of the forests around our cities and towns, might yet flourish in an age of growing megafires.

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Forest Park
Exploring Portland's Natural Sanctuary
Marcy Cottrell Houle
Oregon State University Press, 2023

Situated in the rugged hills west of downtown Portland, Forest Park is the nation’s premier urban natural sanctuary. It supports essential habitat for hundreds of native plants and animals, including species at risk, and is one of the largest city parks in the world. While extending critical ecosystem services to the region, it offers miles of outstanding hiking trails, all within minutes of the downtown core.  

Forest Park: Exploring Portland’s Natural Sanctuary showcases this treasure in new light, offering a compendium of the most up-to-date and comprehensive information available. Twenty-one hikes covering 75 miles bring a full awareness of the park’s outstanding attributes. Hikes are grouped by theme to encourage people to explore Forest Park’s watersheds; geology; lichens and mosses; vegetation; amphibians and reptiles; pollinators; native wildlife; and wildlife corridors. Beautiful photographs and full-color maps accompany each trail description.  

Forest Park is a shining example of the Pacific Northwest western hemlock community--an ecosystem unique among all temperate forests of the world. It is also an exciting model for a future Urban Biodiversity Reserve, a concept under development recognizing the park’s scientific, natural, and cultural qualities. Forest Park: Exploring Portland’s Natural Sanctuary will help all visitors discover the beauty and wonders of this extraordinary natural resource.


front cover of Forests
A Naturalist’s Guide to Woodland Trees
By Laurence C. Walker
University of Texas Press, 1997

First published in 1990, Forests explores the ecological, economic, and human influences on over thirty significant types of woodlands. Laurence Walker focuses especially on the effects of site factors—climate, physiography, biology, and soils—upon the growth of various kinds of trees. Projects for amateur naturalists, reading lists, and a glossary make this the perfect introduction for general readers.


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The Forests of Michigan
Donald I. Dickmann and Larry A. Leefers
University of Michigan Press, 2003

No book currently on bookstore shelves explores, as The Forests of Michigan does, the natural history, ecology, management, economic importance, and use of the rich and varied forests that cover about half of the state's 36.3 million acres. The authors look at the forests, where they are, how they got to be, and their present-day usage, using the story of Michigan forests as a backdrop for the state's history, including its archaeology.

The Forests of Michigan explores how the forests came back after the great Wisconsin glacier began to recede over 12,000 years ago, and how they recovered from the onslaught of unrestrained logging and wildfire that, beginning in the mid-1800s, virtually wiped them out. The emphasis of the book is on sustaining for the long term the forests of the state, with a view of sustainability that builds not only upon the lessons learned from native peoples' attitude and use of trees but also on the latest scientific principles of forest ecology and management.

Generously illustrated and written in an engaging style, The Forests of Michigan sees the forest and the trees, offering both education and delight. "As forest scientists," the authors note, "we opted for a hearty serving of meat and potatoes; anyone who reads this book with the intention of learning something will not be disappointed. Nonetheless, we do include some anecdotal desserts, too."

Donald I. Dickmann is Professor of Forestry at Michigan State University and holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of The Culture of Poplars. Larry A. Leefers is Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University. He holds a doctorate from Michigan State University.


front cover of The Forests of Michigan, Revised Ed.
The Forests of Michigan, Revised Ed.
Donald I. Dickmann and Larry A. Leefers
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Completely revised and updated, this new edition of The Forests of Michigan takes a comprehensive look at the natural history, ecology, management, economic importance, and use of the rich and varied forests that cover about half of Michigan's 36.3 million acres. The book explores how the forests regrew after the great Wisconsin glacier began to recede over 12,000 years ago, and how they recovered from the onslaught of unrestrained logging and wildfire that, beginning in the mid-1800s, virtually wiped them out. The emphasis of the book is on long-term efforts to sustain the state’s forests, with a view of sustainability that builds not only upon the lessons learned from native peoples' attitude and use of trees, but also on the latest scientific principles of forest ecology and management. Generously illustrated and written in an engaging style, The Forests of Michigan sees the forest and the trees, offering both education and delight.


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The Making of the Northwest Forest Plan
The Wild Science of Saving Old Growth Ecosystems
K. Norman Johnson
Oregon State University Press, 2023

Tree sitters. Logger protests. Dying timber towns. An iconic species on the brink. The Timber Wars consumed the Pacific Northwest in the late 1980s and early1990s and led political leaders to ask scientists for a solution. The Northwest Forest Plan was the result.  

For most of the twentieth century, the central theme of federal forest management in the Pacific Northwest had been logging old-growth forests to provide a sustained yield of timber. During the 1970s and 1980s, however, a series of studies by young scientists highlighted the destructive impact of that logging on northern spotted owls, salmon, and the old-growth ecosystem itself.  

Combining this new science with newly minted environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, environmental activists obtained court injunctions to stop old-growth logging on federal land, setting off a titanic struggle in the Pacific Northwest to find a way to accommodate conservation imperatives as well as the logging that provided employment for tens of thousands of people. That effort involved years of controversy and debate, federal courts, five science assessments, Congress, and eventually the president of the United States. It led to creation of the Northwest Forest Plan, which sharply and abruptly shifted the primary goal of federal forestry toward conserving the species and ecosystems of old-growth forests.   Scientists went from spectators to planners and guides, employing their latest scientific findings and expertise to create a forest plan for 20 million acres that would satisfy the courts. The largest upheaval in federal forest management in history had occurred, along with a precipitous decline in timber harvest, and there was no going back.  

In this book, three of the scientists who helped craft that change tell the story as they know it: the causes, development, adoption, and implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan. The book also incorporates personal reflections from the authors, short commentaries and histories from key figures— including spotted owl expert Eric Forsman—and experiences from managers who implemented the Plan as best they could. Legal expert Susan Jane M. Brown helped interpret court cases and Debora Johnson turned spatial data into maps. The final chapters cover the Plan’s ongoing significance and recommendations for conserving forest and aquatic ecosystems in an era of megafires and climate change.


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Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises
Success on the Commons and the Seeds of a Good Anthropocene
David Barton Bray
University of Arizona Press, 2020
The road to sustainable forest management and stewardship has been debated for decades. Some advocate for governmental control and oversight. Some say that the only way to stem the tide of deforestation is to place as many tracts as possible under strict protection. Caught in the middle of this debate, forest inhabitants of the developing world struggle to balance the extraction of precarious livelihoods from forests while responding to increasing pressures from national governments, international institutions, and their own perceptions of environmental decline to protect biodiversity, restore forests, and mitigate climate change.

Mexico presents a unique case in which much of the nation’s forests were placed as commons in the hands of communities, who, with state support and their own entrepreneurial vigor, created community forest enterprises (CFEs). David Barton Bray, who has spent more than thirty years engaged with and researching Mexican community forestry, shows that this reform has transformed forest management in that country at a scale and level of maturity unmatched anywhere else in the world.

For decades Mexico has been conducting a de facto large-scale experiment in the design of a national social-ecological system (SES) focused on community forests. What happens when you give subsistence communities rights over forests, as well as training, organizational support, equipment, and financial capital? Do the communities destroy the forest in the name of economic development, or do they manage them sustainably, generating current income while maintaining intergenerational value as a resource for their children? Bray shares the scientific and social evidence that can now begin to answer these questions. This is an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and the interested public on the future of global forest resilience and the possibilities for a good Anthropocene.

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Native and Ornamental Conifers in the Pacific Northwest
Identification, Botany and Natural History
Elizabeth A. Price
Oregon State University Press, 2022
Most conifer guides available for the Pacific Northwest focus on native species observed in the wild. Native and Ornamental Conifers in the Pacific Northwest presents an integrated perspective for understanding and identifying conifers in any landscape where native and ornamental species grow alongside each other. It is suitable for landscape designers, horticulturalists, arborists, gardeners, environmental scientists, and botanists.

Based on her experiences teaching workshops on conifer identification and cultivation, Elizabeth Price has developed Jargon-free photographic charts, which allow for side-by-side comparison of conifer features and guide the reader to species identification. The charts are detailed enough for specialists yet accessible to amateurs.

The book includes extensive material on the characteristics, botany, and natural history of conifer plant families, genera, and species, all illustrated with original photographs. Research across many disciplines is blended with direct observation and personal experience, creating a book that goes beyond identification and is both rigorous and engaging.

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A Natural History of Belize
Inside the Maya Forest
By Samuel Bridgewater
University of Texas Press, 2012

Belize's Chiquibul Forest is one of the largest remaining expanses of tropical moist forest in Central America. It forms part of what is popularly known as the Maya Forest. Battered by hurricanes over millions of years, occupied by the Maya for thousands of years, and logged for hundreds of years, this ecosystem has demonstrated its remarkable ecological resilience through its continued existence into the twenty-first century. Despite its history of disturbance, or maybe in part because of it, the Maya Forest is ranked as an important regional biodiversity hot spot and provides some of the last regional habitats for endangered species such as the jaguar, the scarlet macaw, Baird's tapir, and Morelet's crocodile.

A Natural History of Belize presents for the first time a detailed portrait of the habitats, biodiversity, and ecology of the Maya Forest, and Belize more broadly, in a format accessible to a popular audience. It is based in part on the research findings of scientists studying at Las Cuevas Research Station in the Chiquibul Forest. The book is unique in demystifying many of the big scientific debates related to rainforests. These include "Why are tropical forests so diverse?"; "How do flora and fauna evolve?"; and "How do species interact?" By focusing on the ecotourism paradise of Belize, this book illustrates how science has solved some of the riddles that once perplexed the likes of Charles Darwin, and also shows how it can assist us in managing our planet and forest resources wisely in the future.


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New England Natives
A Celebration of People and Trees
Sheila Connor
Harvard University Press, 1994
Taking us back to the birth of New England’s forests, Sheila Connor shows us these trees evolving amidst a succession of human cultures, from the archaic Indians who crafted canoes from white birch and snowshoes from ash, to the colonists who built ships of oak and pine, to the industrialists who laid railroad tracks on chestnut timber, to the tanners who used hemlock bark to treat the leather required to shoe the Union army. In this engaging narrative, cultural history affords insights into forestry, botany, horticulture, and ecology, which in turn illuminate the course of human conduct in a wooded land. Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, this book will delight readers with a special interest in the trees of the region, as well as those who wonder what our American culture owes to nature.

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The Northeast’s Changing Forest
Lloyd C. Irland
Harvard University Press, 1999

The Northeast's Changing Forest reviews the history and conditions of the forest in the nine northeastern states. This diverse region stretches from the shores of Lake Erie to Passamaquoddy Bay and from Cape May, New Jersey to northern Maine. The forests range from the dune forest of the New Jersey beaches to subalpine forests in the White Mountains and the Adirondacks. Heavily cleared for agriculture in the nineteenth century, the region's forests have increased in area since 1909 by an amount equal to the entire forest area of Maine, which is 17 million acres.

The region's forests can be thought of as five "forests," each playing a distinct economic role. In the Industrial Forest, the growing and harvesting of industrial wood is the primary use, accompanied by substantial use for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and wilderness canoeing. In the Suburban Forest, the general emphasis on "green backdrop" roles belies the importance of casual recreation, firewood cutting, and industrial wood uses. In the Rural Forest of the region's farming and thinly settled rural areas, traditional forest uses continue. In the Recreational Forest, heavily developed areas for skiing, lakeside camps and resorts, and coastal developments set the tone. Finally, in the Wild Forest, preservation of nature is dominant.

After generations when few aside from the landowner and technical communities paid the forests much attention, they have now become focal points for policy conflicts. Proposals for large additions to the Adirondack Park's Forever Wild lands, for creating a Maine Woods National Park, and for eliminating all timber harvesting on the region's National Forests are prominent examples. The legislatures of every state in the region deal annually with issues of forest taxation, forest practices regulation, public ownership, and land uses affecting forests. The Northeast's Changing Forest gives readers an historic, geographic, and ecological background for understanding the condition of the forests of the Northeast and the outlook for their future.


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People, Forests, and Change
Lessons from the Pacific Northwest
Edited by Deanna H. Olson and Beatrice Van Horne
Island Press, 2017
We owe much of our economic prosperity to the vast forested landscapes that cover the earth. The timber we use to build our homes, the water we drink, and the oxygen in the air we breathe come from the complex forested ecosystem that many of us take for granted. As urban boundaries expand and rural landscapes are developed, forests are under more pressure than ever. It is time to forgo the thinking that forests can be managed outside of human influence, and shift instead to management strategies that consider humans to be part of the forest ecosystem. Only then can we realistically plan for coexisting and sustainable forests and human communities in the future.

In People, Forests, and Change: Lessons from the Pacific Northwest, editors Deanna H. Olson and Beatrice Van Horne have assembled an expert panel of social and forest scientists to consider the nature of forests in flux and how to best balance the needs of forests and the rural communities closely tied to them. The book considers the temperate moist-coniferous forests of the US Pacific Northwest, but many of the concepts apply broadly to challenges in forest management in other regions and countries.  In the US northwest, forest ecosystem management has been underway for two decades, and key lessons are emerging. The text is divided into four parts that set the stage for forests and rural forest economies, describe dynamic forest systems at work, consider new science in forest ecology and management, and ponder the future for these coniferous forests under different scenarios.

People, Forests, and Change brings together ideas grounded in science for policy makers, forest and natural resource managers, students, and conservationists who wish to understand how to manage forests conscientiously to assure their long-term viability and that of human communities who depend on them.

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A Place for Inquiry, A Place for Wonder
The Andrews Forest
William Robbins
Oregon State University Press, 2020
The H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest is a slice of classic Oregon: due east of Eugene in the Cascade Mountains, it comprises 15,800 acres of the Lookout Creek watershed. The landscape is steep, with hills and deep valleys and cold, fast-running streams. The densely forested landscape includes cedar, hemlock, and moss-draped Douglas fir trees. One of eighty-one USDA experimental forests, the Andrews is administered cooperatively by the US Forest Service, OSU, and the Willamette National Forest. While many Oregonians may think of the Andrews simply as a good place to hike, research on the forest has been internationally acclaimed, has influenced Forest management, and contributed to our understanding of healthy forests.

In A Place for Inquiry, A Place for Wonder, historian William Robbins turns his attention to the long-overlooked Andrews Forest and argues for its importance to environmental science and policy. From its founding in 1948, the experimental forest has been the site of wide-ranging research. Beginning with postwar studies on the conversion of old-growth timber to fast-growing young stands, research at the Andrews shifted in the next few decades to long-term ecosystem investigations that focus on climate, streamflow, water quality, vegetation succession, biogeochemical cycling, and effects of forest management. The Andrews has thus been at the center of a dramatic shift in federal timber practices from industrial, intensive forest management policies to strategies emphasizing biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

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Pyrocene Park
A Journey into the Fire History of Yosemite National Park
Stephen J. Pyne
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Its monumental rocks, etched by glaciers during the last Ice Age, have made Yosemite National Park a crown jewel of the national park system and a world-celebrated destination. Yet, more and more, fire rather than ice is shaping this storied landscape.

In the last decade, fire has blasted into public attention. California’s blazes have captured national and global media interest with their drama and urgency. Expand the realm of fire to include the burning of fossil fuels, and the fire story also subsumes climate change. Renowned fire historian Stephen J. Pyne argues that the relationship between fire and humans has become a defining feature of our epoch, and he reveals how Yosemite offers a cameo of how we have replaced an ice age with a fire age: the Pyrocene.

Organized around a backcountry trek to a 50-year experiment in restoring fire, Pyrocene Park describes the 150-year history of fire suppression and management that has led us, in part, to where the park is today. But there is more. Yosemite’s fire story is America’s, and the Earth’s, as it shifts from an ice-informed world to a fire-informed one. Pyrocene Park distills that epic story into a sharp miniature.

Flush with people, ideas, fires, and controversy, Pyrocene Park is a compelling and accessible window into the American fire scene and the future it promises.

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Dispatches from Earth's Most Vital Frontlines
Tony Juniper
Island Press, 2019
Rainforests have long been recognized as hotspots of biodiversity—but they are crucial for our planet in other surprising ways. Not only do these fascinating ecosystems thrive in rainy regions, they create rain themselves, and this moisture is spread around the globe. Rainforests across the world have a powerful and concrete impact, reaching as far as America’s Great Plains and central Europe. In Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines, a prominent  conservationist provides a comprehensive view of the crucial roles rainforests serve, the state of the world’s rainforests today, and the inspirational efforts underway to save them.

In Rainforest, Tony Juniper draws upon decades of work in rainforest conservation. He brings readers along on his journeys, from the thriving forests of Costa Rica to Indonesia, where palm oil plantations have supplanted much of the former rainforest. Despite many ominous trends, Juniper sees hope for rainforests and those who rely upon them, thanks to developments like new international agreements, corporate deforestation policies, and movements from local and Indigenous communities.    

As climate change intensifies, we have already begun to see the effects of rainforest destruction on the planet at large. Rainforest provides a detailed and wide-ranging look at the health and future of these vital ecosystems. Throughout this evocative book, Juniper argues that in saving rainforests, we save ourselves, too.

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Rising from the Ashes
The Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires in Memory and Art
Stephen Lyn Bales
University of Tennessee Press, 2022

This catalog documents a 2022 exhibition of original editorial illustrations commissioned by the University of Tennessee Libraries to complement the Chimney Tops 2 Wildfires Oral History Project. The four illustrators showcased here have strong ties to East Tennessee. Paige Braddock, author of the Eisner-nominated comic strip Jane’s World and Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, is an ’85 UT alumna; Charlie Daniel, beloved Knoxville News Sentinel editorial illustrator, has been a Knoxville resident since 1958; Marshall Ramsey, syndicated editorial illustrator and Pulitzer nominee, is a ’91 UT alumnus; and professional illustrator Danny Wilson has been a visible part of Knoxville’s graphic landscape since graduating from UT in 1984. The artists were given access to the project’s digital archive of oral interviews—to date, 139 have been recorded—and were asked to respond creatively to what they heard and read.

The result is Rising from the Ashes, a candid and deeply felt collection of illustrations encapsulating accounts of the merciless firestorm that enveloped Sevier County in November 2016. The flexible medium of the editorial illustration shows itself capable of extended narrative, disquieting detail, and poignant synthesis, as well as moments of beauty, hope, horror, and even humor as it ushers viewers into the recollections of wrestling and sorrow that animate the project’s still expanding archive. Bales writes, “Ultimately, the multiple fires destroyed or damaged 2,500 homes and buildings, killed 14 trapped people, injured another 200 or more, and burned over 17,000 acres of mostly woodlands that were a powder keg of dried leaves, all in a matter of three hours.” Years later, the ramifications of this event are still being felt in the community and region. Rising from the Ashes is a tribute to a people who suffered, lost, banded together, and rebuilt; and no less important, it is an expression of solidarity, recognizing how much remains to be done.


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Saving the World
How Forests Inspired Global Efforts to Stop Climate Change
Brett M. Bennett and Gregory A. Barton
Reaktion Books, 2024
An illuminating history of the forgotten concept of climatic botany that underscores how vital forests are to our future.
Saving the World tells the forgotten history of climatic botany, the idea that forests are essential for creating and recycling rain. Long before the specter of global warming, societies recognized that deforestation caused drastic climate shifts—as early as 1770, concerns over deforestation spurred legislation to combat human-induced climate change. Across the twentieth century, climatic botany experienced fluctuating fortunes, influenced by technological advancements and evolving meteorological theories. Remarkably, contemporary scientists are rediscovering the crucial role of forests in rainfall recycling, unaware of the long history of climatic botany. This enlightening book is essential reading for anyone passionate about conserving the world’s forests and preserving our climate for future generations.

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The Southern Forest
A Chronicle
By Laurence C. Walker
University of Texas Press, 1991

When the first European explorers reached the southern shores of North America in the early seventeenth century, they faced a solid forest that stretched all the way from the Atlantic coast to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. The ways in which they and their descendants used—and abused—the forest over the next nearly four hundred years form the subject of The Southern Forest.

In chapters on the explorers, pioneers, lumbermen, boatbuilders, and foresters, Laurence Walker chronicles the constant demands that people have made on forest resources in the South. He shows how the land's very abundance became its greatest liability, as people overhunted the animals, clearcut the forests, and wore out the soil with unwise farming practices—all in a mistaken belief that the forest's bounty (including new ground to be broken) was inexhaustible.

With the advent of professional forestry in the twentieth century, however, the southern forest has made a comeback. A professional forester himself, Walker speaks from experience of the difficulties that foresters face in balancing competing interests in the forest. How, for example, does one reconcile the country's growing demand for paper products with the insistence of environmental groups that no trees be cut? Should national forests be strictly recreational areas, or can they support some industrial logging? How do foresters avoid using chemical pesticides when the public protests such natural management practices as prescribed burning and tree cutting?

This personal view of the southern forest adds a new dimension to the study of southern history and culture. The primeval southern forest is gone, but, with careful husbandry on the part of all users, the regenerated southern forest may indeed prove to be the inexhaustible resource of which our ancestors dreamed.


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Stepping Back to Look Forward
A History of the Massachusetts Forest
Charles H. W. Foster
Harvard University Press, 1998
This timely collection of essays, written by recognized forestry and environmental specialists, tells the story of the conservation, use, and changes in Massachusetts’ forests over time. It begins with ecology and land-use history through pre-settlement, colonial, and post-Revolutionary periods, and ends with recommendations on how history may inform policy. It documents the origin and growth of state forestry programs and underscores the importance of private and local leadership and Massachusetts’ roles in the emergence of national conservation and forestry efforts. Economic contributions and educational programs are detailed. The book concludes with a call to awaken and reinvigorate the historical connection between citizens and their forests, an initiative of potential significance not only to Massachusetts but to the nation.

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Stories of a Forest Ranger
Tales of Life in the U.S. Forest Service
Pete Griffin
Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2020
Stories about the life of a Forest Ranger, the habitat and animals he has worked to protect, together with no small number of self-effacing humorous anecdotes. This book of stories draws on the author's thirty years in the US Forest service, including encounters with bears, elk, moose, and that strangest of animals, humans. Laced with happy humor, the stories inform and educate while they entertain. Adventures have come along with the work and Griffin is a natural storyteller.

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Strong Winds and Widow Makers
Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country
Steven C. Beda
University of Illinois Press, 2023
Winner of the 2022 Philip Taft Labor History Book Prize

Often cast as villains in the Northwest's environmental battles, timber workers in fact have a connection to the forest that goes far beyond jobs and economic issues. Steven C. Beda explores the complex true story of how and why timber-working communities have concerned themselves with the health and future of the woods surrounding them. Life experiences like hunting, fishing, foraging, and hiking imbued timber country with meanings and values that nurtured a deep sense of place in workers, their families, and their communities. This sense of place in turn shaped ideas about protection that sometimes clashed with the views of environmentalists--or the desires of employers. Beda's sympathetic, in-depth look at the human beings whose lives are embedded in the woods helps us understand that timber communities fought not just to protect their livelihood, but because they saw the forest as a vital part of themselves.

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Through a Naturalist's Eyes
Exploring the Nature of New England
Michael J. Caduto
University Press of New England, 2016
For native and visitor alike, the New England landscape has a rich allure. This grand sweep of land is a living tapestry woven of interconnected bioregions and natural communities whose compositions of plants and animals have evolved over time. In more than fifty essays, Michael J. Caduto brings readers into the complex stories to be found in nature. Drawing on first-hand experiences and reflections on the relationship between the natural world and humans, Caduto explores some of the plants, animals, natural places, and environmental issues of New England—from dragonflies, cuckoos, and chipmunks to circumpolar constellations and climate change. Stunning illustrations by Adelaide Murphy Tyrol illuminate these elegant and humorous essays.

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The Tillamook
A Created Forest Comes of Age
Gail Wells
Oregon State University Press, 1999

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Tree Lines
Valerie P Cohen
University of Nevada Press, 2017
Tree Lines unites striking ink drawings of high-altitude pine trees with poetic vignettes about how people interact with mountain environments. The drawings and text work together to form a direct artistic encounter with timberline conifers. The husband and wife team of Valerie and Michael Cohen employ a unique process whereby she draws in isolation, gives him her drawings, and he then writes whatever he’s inspired to create. Neither offers the other any kind of feedback or instruction. The result is an accessible and deeply engaging work that is also extremely well researched; the Cohens bring a lifetime of scholarship in literature, history, and the environment to this work.

The drawings are black-and-white, pen-and-ink representations of high alpine ecosystems. The prose is stripped bare, abbreviated in an epigrammatic style that is poetic and spontaneous. Trees represented here are the Western Juniper or Sierra Juniper, the Limber, and the Bristlecone Pine—three species of long-lived, slow-growing conifers that grow across the Great Basin. While they represent only a small portion of the vegetative culture high in the western mountains, the Cohens use representation as abstraction as is utilized by writers and artists to convey a unique kind of microcosm of our natural environment. This book compares to such classics as Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which open up lines of observation, analysis, and art for a new generation of readers. 

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Trees and Forests of Tropical Asia
Exploring Tapovan
Peter Ashton and David Lee
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Informed by decades of researching tropical Asian forests, a comprehensive, up-to-date, and beautifully illustrated synthesis of the natural history of this unique place.
Trees and Forests of Tropical Asia invites readers on an expedition into the leafy, humid, forested landscapes of tropical Asia—the so-called tapovan, a Sanskrit word for the forest where knowledge is attained through tapasya, or inner struggle. Peter Ashton and David Lee, two of the world’s leading scholars on Asian tropical rain forests, reveal the geology and climate that have produced these unique forests, the diversity of species that inhabit them, the means by which rain forest tree species evolve to achieve unique ecological space, and the role of humans in modifying the landscapes over centuries. Following Peter Ashton’s extensive On the Forests of Tropical Asia, the first book to describe the forests of the entire tropical Asian region from India east to New Guinea, this new book provides a more condensed and updated overview of tropical Asian forests written accessibly for students as well as tropical forest biologists, ecologists, and conservation biologists.

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Trees, Woods and Forests
A Social and Cultural History
Charles Watkins
Reaktion Books, 2014
Forests—and the trees within them—have always been a central resource for the development of technology, culture, and the expansion of humans as a species. Examining and challenging our historical and modern attitudes toward wooded environments, this engaging book explores how our understanding of forests has transformed in recent years and how it fits in our continuing anxiety about our impact on the natural world.
            Drawing on the most recent work of historians, ecologist geographers, botanists, and forestry professionals, Charles Watkins reveals how established ideas about trees—such as the spread of continuous dense forests across the whole of Europe after the Ice Age—have been questioned and even overturned by archaeological and historical research. He shows how concern over woodland loss in Europe is not well founded—especially while tropical forests elsewhere continue to be cleared—and he unpicks the variety of values and meanings different societies have ascribed to the arboreal. Altogether, he provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary overview of humankind’s interaction with this abused but valuable resource.

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Wars in the Woods
The Rise of Ecological Forestry in America
Samuel P. Hays
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006

Wars in the Woods examines the conflicts that have developed over the preservation of forests in America, and how government agencies and advocacy groups have influenced the management of forests and their resources for more than a century. Samuel Hays provides an astute analysis of manipulations of conservation law that have touched off a battle between what he terms “ecological forestry” and “commodity forestry.” Hays also reveals the pervading influence of the wood products industry, and the training of U.S. Forest Service to value tree species marketable as wood products, as the primary forces behind forestry policy since the Forest Management Act of 1897. 

Wars in the Woods gives a comprehensive account of the many grassroots and scientific organizations that have emerged since then to combat the lumber industry and other special interest groups and work to promote legislation to protect forests, parks, and wildlife habitats. It also offers a review of current forestry practices, citing the recent Federal easing of protections as a challenge to the progress made in the last third of the twentieth century.

Hays describes an increased focus on ecological forestry in areas such as biodiversity, wildlife habitat, structural diversity, soil conservation, watershed management, native forests, and old growth. He provides a valuable framework for the critical assessment of forest management policies and the future study and protection of forest resources.


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