Reading the Landscape
What Am I Looking At?
Most of us can read maps, and know where we are, or where we have been. Many of us readbooks to find those things as well. But did you know that you can read your landscape?
Paying close attention to the land around you can reveal its long history. The land in Maine has gone through many changes. European settlements occurred largely in the 18th century. This changed the wild landscape into a more agrarian landscape as land was cleared for farming.
By the mid 1800s farming started to decline. As these farms were abandoned, the white pines started to grow up.
The larger and more mature these stands of trees became the more valuable they became. The pines started to be harvested. One of the most common and valuable uses of these pines was for “box boards” used to make shipping containers.
The clear cutting of these white pines allowed for the mixed hardwoods to grow. This created diverse species of trees and thus wildlife in our forests as they grew.
As you have just read, the fire of 1947 also changed our landscape again. What do you think that this land will say in 20, 50, 100 years? Will there still be a trail?
Much of this information was gathered from the Harvard Forest Museum
Did You Know?
- White pines will not continue to sprout after being cut down, but hard woods will sprout right from the stump.
- The fastest growing species that sprout easily: red oaks, red maples, white ash, birches, and black cherry. See if you can find any of these trees. Further down the trail you will find out if you were right!