Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England

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Countryman Press, 1999 - Nature - 199 pages
2 Reviews
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An original portrait of New England's forests, tracing their evolution from precolonial days to the present through a study of the patterns we see today. Landscape is much more than scenery to be observed or even terrain to be traveled, as this fascinating and many-layered book vividly shows us. 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 & white illustrations, index.

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How to tell the age of a tree? How to tell if an area is home to a bunch of beavers? How else to learn that hemlock bark is moss resistant? Read this book full of superfluous information - much that you will never need to know or learn. Information from the stone age, this book will have you believing that the love of the environment may not altogether vanish in the next 50 years.
Although 98% of our society (rough estimate) does not give even the smallest crap about wood rot and moss, you could pretend to care by setting this polished turd of a novel atop your living room credenza when entertaining.
Though well written, the information provided is nothing that could not be found in Google searches. 2 stars for artwork sketches and delivery.
 

Review: Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England

User Review  - Alexandra - Goodreads

I could hardly believe how much I learned from this book, not only about trees, but also about history. I am seeing the landscape around me with new eyes. Also picked up his new field guide, Forest Forensics, which has great photos. Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Tom Wessels is an ecologist and the author of Reading the Forested Landscape and Forest Forensics. He is the director of the Environmental Biology program at Antioch New England Graduate School.

Brian D. Cohen is a printmaker, artist, teacher, and publisher of fine edition letterpress books.

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