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Reading the Forested Landscape - A Natural History of New England

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 Product Description


Reading the Forested Landscape


A Natural History of New England


Tom Wessels; Etchings by Brian D. Cohen; Foreword by Ann H. Zwinger

More than 28,000 copies sold!

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.


"I feel grateful for this illuminating and beautifully written book."
—John Elder, author, Reading the Mountains of Home


"What a fascinating book-it is equal parts Sherlock Holmes and Aldo Leopold"
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature


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Tom Wessels

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 Product Reviews

  1. Review

    Posted by John Elder on 9th Mar 2014

    Tom Wessels evokes ancient logging roads from the weathered scars on trees deep in the New England forest. He helps his readers to glimpse the cycles of environmental transformation represented by a single beaver dam and to read old winds in the moldering evidence of blowdown. By focusing on such 'disturbance histories,' he brings alive the intricate, interwoven, and ever changing story of his region. I feel grateful for this illuminating and beautifully written book.

  2. Review

    Posted by Sy Montgomery on 9th Mar 2014

    Reading the Forested Landscape deciphers the 'books in brooks' and the 'sermon in stone' that tell the story of how New England was made, from glacier to beaver to plow. No walk through the woods will ever be the same.

  3. Review

    Posted by Ann Zwinger on 9th Mar 2014

    This book invites slow and luxurious reading, the rewards of knowing a landscape well - and if not New England forests, then the southwestern desert or the midwestern prairie: The principles are the same. But most of all, this is a story of home, often fascinating, sometimes familiar, occasionally surprising, the place we know so well but know so little about.

  4. Review

    Posted by Bill Mckibben on 9th Mar 2014

    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 the your nightstand.

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