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Changing Nature of the Maine Woods

Andrew M. Barton

Publication Year: 2012

The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods is both a fascinating introduction to the forests of Maine and a detailed but accessible narrative of the dynamism of these ecosystems. This is natural history with a long view, starting with an overview of the state's geological history, the reemergence of the forest after glacial retreat, and the surprising changes right up to European arrival. The authors create a vivid picture of Maine forests just before the impact of Euro-Americans and trace the profound transformations since settlement.

Ambitious in its geographic range, this book explores how and why Maine forests differ across the state, from the top of Mount Katahdin to the coast. Through groundbreaking research and engaging narratives, the authors assess key ecological forces such as climate change, insects and disease, nonnative organisms, natural disturbance, and changing land use to create a dramatic portrait of Maine forests--past, present, and future.

This book both synthesizes the latest scientific discoveries regarding the changing forest and relates the findings to an educated lay and academic audience.

Published by: University of New Hampshire Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9


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pp. 10-11

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pp. xi-xvi

...ecological diversity of the Maine Woods. We fully recognize that it is difficult to avoid writing about nature without implying certain perspectives and perhaps even management directions. We hope that the patterns and principles discussed in this book speak largely for themselves. The book presents new scientific contributions, including an expanded presettlement land survey analysis of Maine, the collation of attributes...

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1. The Maine Woods: Through Time and Across Space

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pp. 1-14

...remnants of other plants, insects, marine bivalves, and, quite remarkably, green conifer needles still attached to the preserved twigs of some longdead tree. Reconstructing this prehistoric scene was not easy. It required the work of geologists, paleoecologists, and a tree-ring expert, who assessed...

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2. From Rocks to Ice to Forests: How Did the Land and Forests of Maine Formand Change over Geological Time?

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pp. 15-47

...then plants invaded the land, and the basin began to fill with organic matter. Pollen, leaves, and seeds from the surrounding vegetation floated onto the surface and sank to the bottom, depositing layer upon layer, year after year — creating what is now a multimillennial time capsule of the changing forests of the Basin Preserve. Andrea and Tommy stand the Russian peat corer up on its pointy end...

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3. The Presettlement Forest of Maine: What Were the Forests Like before European Settlement?

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pp. 48-99

...and Gilbert described the destination as “gallant Illands full of heigh and mighty trees of sundry sorts.” This forested stretch of coastline must have seemed remote and alien to the Englishmen, for they had departed at the end of May from Plymouth, England, a busy port city on the Devon coast. The location did, however, satisfy their search for a land rich in timber and...

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4. From European Settlement to Modern Times: How Did Human Culture Transform Maine Forests?

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pp. 100-141

...the coastline to near its present position. Indians settled the area, making a living through hunting and gathering. By first contact with Europeans, these Indians had lived in the Sandy River valley for many generations. But by the late eighteenth century, they had been decimated by war and foreign diseases. When the first Euro-American settlers arrived in 1781, two Indian...

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5. The Length and Breadth and Height of Maine: How and Why Do Forests Vary across the State?

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pp. 142-188

...hundred plant species, 226 bird species, 158 dragonflies and damselflies, 34 reptiles and amphibians, and much more. But these numbers are only a small part of the story. What’s truly impressive about the ecology of Maine is the degree to which nature differs from one place to another, from the southwest to the far north, from the coast to the interior, from the flatlands...

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6. The Future of the Maine Woods: What Will Maine Forests Be Like in the Year 2100?

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pp. 189-234

...Janet McMahon and Chris Davis have lived on their 100 acres in Maine since 1983. Their land stretches from the shoreline of the inner reaches of Muscongus Bay to nearly a mile inland, encompassing a wide range of natural communities and habitats. Most of it is woods, but there are also fields, an orchard, stonewalls, tidal flats, and, of course, their house, barn, and...


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pp. 235-288


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pp. 289-330

Illustration Credits

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pp. 331-338


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pp. 339-350

E-ISBN-13: 9781611682953
E-ISBN-10: 1611682959
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584658320

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012