Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England

Reading the Forested Landscape A Natural History of New England 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

  • Title: Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England
  • Author: Tom Wessels Brian D. Cohen Ann H. Zwinger
  • ISBN: 9780881504200
  • Page: 105
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 thAn 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.

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      Posted by:Tom Wessels Brian D. Cohen Ann H. Zwinger
      Published :2019-01-27T07:01:15+00:00

    One thought on “Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England”

    1. Ecologist Tom Wessels is a master sleuth who investigates the changes in the forests of New England. Fires, logging, pasturing, beavers, insects, fungus, weather, topography and substrate all leave a stamp on the forest picture. Etchings by Brian D. Cohen illustrate the forest scenes discussed. Most chapters also have "a look back" section where interesting facts about glaciers, Native Americans, colonial history, historic hurricanes, and more are featured. The last chapter tells of Wessels' con [...]

    2. I’ve read some great books over the years. Books that have entertained me. Books that have informed me. Books that have moved me. Some to high orders of magnitude. 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. That rare piece of writing which adds some semblance of grounding to all those exhausted phrases: “mind bend [...]

    3. This was a fascinating book, lent to me by my friend Fred (thanks Fred!). As I read it I kept thinking "now where was this book when I was in my ecology classes in college?" We often take the countryside and forest flora for granted when we walk through them. Not in the sense that we don't appreciate them, but we don't stop to ask ourselves "why these particular plants here?" That's the question I've asked myself since taking Bill Niering's classes all those years ago. Reading Wessels' book has [...]

    4. This is a nice addition which gives me more grounding on the landscapes I work and inhabit. New England woods are really the only woods I have any experience with. Any book which helps me to understand them better is welcome. This one has some beautiful illustrations to accompany the text and it provides a good supplement to knowledge about the environs I often find myself in. Pretty good book. Wish it was longer.

    5. I am so excited about this book.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. As I sit at my dinner table, I view 180 degrees of such a forested landscape.The book is ingenious.It introduces the idea of forest "disturbance histories", such as fires, logging, diseases, and the climatic changes in this area for the past several thousand years. Each of the 7 chapters focuses on a single type of disturbance history [...]

    6. This is a must-read for anyone who spends time in the forest. The book teaches you how to be a forest sleuth and ascertain the history.logging, glacial, blight, etc of a particular stand of trees. The author writes in a style that is engaging and informative. In the end, you realize that you want to morally sign up to be a warden of New England's greatest resources:"I am not just a tourist passing through, but a part of the landscape--a partner in its dialogue. Through this relationship I contin [...]

    7. 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. Each chapter begins with an illustration of a typical scene in the woods in this part of the world and than dissects it, explaining what happened or might have happened to make it so. It's language is a bit abstract for the ninth graders I look at it with, but it brims with content. Good stuff.

    8. Curious about the minutiae of local patch of woods? This book is for you. Part Sherlock Holmes, part Bill McKibben, part Center for Land Use Interpretation. Learn how much of New England's rural landscape was shaped by thirty years of "sheep fever" from 1810-1840.

    9. This Spring, we spent a week in the Great Smokie Mountain National Park. 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? We're trees with elevated roots avoiding wet soil, or did their up used to be something under them? Why were so many trees down is a particular area?This book seeks to answer these sorts of questions. It uses a series of etchings of forests to lead the reader though the various disruptions that s [...]

    10. 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.Elegant drawings and clear prose guide Wessels' reader to understand the sticks, stones, soils, and streams encountered during any hike in New England woods. 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 [...]

    11. A very clear well written book that provides the tools to understand the structure of a present day landscape. While specific to central New England, these tools can be used to see the landscape anywhere and learn to understand what causes things to happen. Really remarkable and thoughtful.

    12. A fascinating and educational read. Learned so much about reading landscapes and their individual elements. Opened up a whole new area of interest!

    13. Loved this but the last chapter left me suspended in the past. Oooo Update it, please? Then I can give this five stars. Fantastic book from 1997 with lovely design and etchings that truly enhance the clear teaching style of the writing. I read a first edition hardcover, and while yes there is a 2005 paperback, it is now 2017. The last chapter "Forests of the Future" (published in 1997) is crying out for recent research expansion that would add today's badly needed scientific context. I repeat: I [...]

    14. This is a must-read for avid hikers in New England. It contains rich info on botany and geology of the New England region, particularly Central NE which is north of where I live. Who knew that New England was covered by glaciers as recently as 15,000 years ago? That helps to explain the many huge--sometimes "house size"--boulders that you find in the forest. And Lake Vermont, some 700 feet higher than today's Lake Champlain, was five times larger than present day Lake Champlain. My home in Centr [...]

    15. As the title suggests, this book helps turn a walk in the woods into something much more. Step by step, the author takes us through clues to the history of a New England forest. Is that stone wall likely to have bounded a pasture or cropland? What can we infer from the presence of multi-stemmed maples? Was the area clear-cut? How long ago? After reading this book, you'll never look at a stump the same way. I learned from a fellow hiker who had studied with Tom Wessels that he required students t [...]

    16. 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.S. with a detailed focus on central New England. 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. Disturba [...]

    17. Really an amazing book for anyone interested in the outdoors and New England. He's one of those rare people who looks at things that thousands of people see every day and notices something unseen to all the others. (Roughly, he is to forests as Jane Jacobs is to cities.) It's entertaining, it's an easy read, and it will absolutely change the way you perceive your environment, if your environment is rural New England. Really, really worth it.

    18. I plan to re-read this book again and again. There is so many wonderful pieces of information contained in this book that it was impossible to take it all in a single pass. The writing and language was very easy to follow and stay engaged in. The book answered questions that I never dreamed could be answered. As a Forrest roamer myself, I can hardly wait to put my new knowledge to use. I recommend this book to anybody who regularly strolls the Forrest and enjoys knowing why things are a certain [...]

    19. Tom Wessels investigates nature etchings of Brian Cohen to reveal more than one dimension. 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. By learning about how these species have reacted to significant historical events, Wessels helps us interpret the forests at present, and possibly predict what may become of these specialized ecosystems in the future. This can all be done by looking for evidence in th [...]

    20. Great introduction to basics of forest ecology. 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. A short read, big on the historical landscape usages that made our region what it is today. It was cool to have a portrait of our region's past so strikingly described by Wessels. It ends on a somewhat depressing note describing the contemporary problems faci [...]

    21. I will read this book again and again. The way he breaks down the natural history of New England is fascinating, even intoxicating if you are into this stuff. At the beginning of every chapter there is a woodblock print of a forest scene. The chapter is spent analyzing the trees and landscape within, discussing what caused this or that. I learned more about New England from that skinny book than from any other single source since I moved here.

    22. Fascinating book on deducing the history of a forest from details of the trees and ground: figuring out if it's been cut over (maybe multiple times), or burned, or the subject to past beaver activity. "Assigned" reading for a hike where we explored a blowdown area, and the parallels between the reading and seeing it in the field were amazing. Very accessible.

    23. I learned everything I ever wanted to know about the history of the woods from this book. Tom Wessels does a great job of making science accessible and also is a beautiful writer. The illustrations are to die for as well, but that's someone else. mmm. If I could read this book every day I'd be a happy camper.

    24. Really great resource for learning how to "read" the landscape as a whole, not just identify species of bird and tree. Wessels says he has a more "forensic" guide coming out this summer; I took that to mean better indexed, cross-indexed, with some species id keys, etc. I look forward to reading that, too!

    25. Read this for Ecological Dynamics of Landscapes class, but I would recommend this to any nature lover. I don't typically read non-fiction but this was a really great book. Easy, fascinating and enjoyable read. It is also a great reference book - you would never guess what you can tell about a forest just by looking!

    26. I really enjoyed this book. You will never look at the forest the same again after reading this book. Anyone who lives in New England should read this. There is so much history and wonder of the woods around us that shouldn't be kept secrect.

    27. 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.

    28. This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I learned SO much and have been already quoting it to my kids in Forest Ecology class. It has so much packed in it I feel like I need to read it again to take it in.

    29. I loved this book - I grew up in a wooded/rural area and yet I didn't know any of the stuff this book contained. I use what I learned in this book on my weekly hikes all the time. Awesome book! A must read for nature lovers!

    30. This book has forever changed the way I see the woods around me- glacial erratics, age discontinuities- everything I learned from this book ten years ago (back at the Mountain School) makes every moment I spend outdoors richer!

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