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New England Forests Through Time: Insights from the Harvard Forest Dioramas

David R. Foster and John F. O'Keefe
Petersham, Mass.: Harvard Forest, distributed by Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 67 p., $9.95

How have forests in North America changed over the past 300 years? Until a time machine is invented, we will never really understand exactly how forests have altered over the centuries thanks to intense human environmental alterations. Eighty years ago, before virtual reality, before cinematic fantasies, Richard T. Fisher, then director of the Harvard Forest, and Ernest Stillman, a philanthropist, created a state-of-the-art display to try to explain the changes that occurred in New England over time. This book is both a historical document, giving a sense of how the science of forestry some 75 years ago understood the extent of man's impact on the environment, and a scientific synopsis of our current understanding of the ecological effects of agriculture and urbanization. If nothing else, this book will certainly encourage a visit to Harvard Forest and the Fisher Museum to view these amazing dioramas in person.

— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Informatoio, School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.