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Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England
     

Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England

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by Tom Wessels, Brian D. Cohen (Illustrator), Ann Zwinger (Foreword by), Brian D. Cohen (Illustrator)
 

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A full and wholly original portrait of New England's forests, tracing their evolution from pre-colonial days to the present through a study of the patterns we see today. Read this book, is many fans have said, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same.

Most books and courses on natural history focus on the identification of one small aspect of the

Overview

A full and wholly original portrait of New England's forests, tracing their evolution from pre-colonial days to the present through a study of the patterns we see today. Read this book, is many fans have said, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same.

Most books and courses on natural history focus on the identification of one small aspect of the complex world outside our doors. We may know how to identify our neighborhood trees but not know why pine are dominant in one place and maple in another; we may notice fungus growing on a beech trunk but not know the devastating impact of blights on our forests over the centuries. Tom Wessels, who has spent more than twenty years interpreting New England's landscape and teaching others to see "the forest for the trees," argues that by coming to a fuller understanding of our home ground, we achieve a greater sense of place.

An intrepid sleuth and articulate tutor, Wessels teaches us to read a landscape the way we might solve a mystery. Each chapter addresses a form of forest disturbance common in New England--fire, logging, and blight are examples--and depicts it in an extraordinary, full-page etching. Studying Wessels's descriptions of forest scenes in conjunction with Cohen's visual portraits teaches us to identify disturbance patterns and, in turn, to take our discoveries outside and read the history written in the character of the land.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Enhanced by etchings and illustrations by Brian Cohen, this ode to the landscape of central New England by ecologist Wessels (environmental biology, Antioch New England Graduate School) sees the forest for the trees by chronicling its evolution from the Ice Age to current challenges. Appends a primer to reading evidence of former disturbance, plant site conditions, eco-indicators, and a glossary of the regions's flora, fauna, and indigenous tribes. Paper edition (unseen), $17.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
John Elder
“Tom Wessels evokes ancient logging roads from the weathered scars on trees deep in the New England forest.....he brings alive the intricate, interwoven, and ever-changing story of his region. I feel grateful for this illuminating and beautifully written book.”
Brian Downey - Peterborough
“The etchings in Reading the Forested Landscape are fabulous and the text is more entertaining than The Disney Channel.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881503784
Publisher:
Countryman Press, The
Publication date:
04/01/1997
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
9.31(w) x 8.39(h) x 0.79(d)

Read an Excerpt

A full and wholly original portrait of New England's forests, tracing their evolution from pre-colonial days to the present through a study of the patterns we see today. Read this book, is many fans have said, and no walk in the woods will ever be the same.

Most books and courses on natural history focus on the identification of one small aspect of the complex world outside our doors. We may know how to identify our neighborhood trees but not know why pine are dominant in one place and maple in another; we may notice fungus growing on a beech trunk but not know the devastating impact of blights on our forests over the centuries. Tom Wessels, who has spent more than twenty years interpreting New England's landscape and teaching others to see "the forest for the trees," argues that by coming to a fuller understanding of our home ground, we achieve a greater sense of place.

An intrepid sleuth and articulate tutor, Wessels teaches us to read a landscape the way we might solve a mystery. Each chapter addresses a form of forest disturbance common in New England--fire, logging, and blight are examples--and depicts it in an extraordinary, full-page etching. Studying Wessels's descriptions of forest scenes in conjunction with Cohen's visual portraits teaches us to identify disturbance patterns and, in turn, to take our discoveries outside and read the history written in the character of the land.

What People are Saying About This

John Elder
John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home

Tom Wessels evokes ancient logging roads from the weathered scars on trees deep in the New England forest.....he brings alive the intricate, interwoven, and ever-changing story of his region. I feel grateful for this illuminating and beautifully written book.

Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben, author of The Plain Reader

What a fascinating book-it is equal parts Sherlock Holmes and Aldo Leopold, and it will help many thousands of New Englanders answer the questions that come to mind as they wander this landscape of stone walls, stunted apple trees, and towering hemlocks. Forget John LeCarre--it's Tom Wessels you want on your nightstand.

Meet the Author

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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