Forest Forensics by Tom Wessels

Forest Forensics

Forest Forensics is a field guide that helps readers understand the history of a forest by analyzing visual clues. The book is a condensed version of Tom Wessels’ previous work, Reading the Forested Landscape.

Wessels provides a key with a series of either/or questions to guide readers through the process of analyzing what they see in the forest. The book covers topics such as tree life histories, fire ecology, restoration, and historical ecology.

The heart of the book is a 7-page section at the beginning outlining observations/evidence related to Agriculture, Old Growth and Wind, and Logging and Fire. The book is illustrated with full-color photographs that show what Wessels is describing far better than any field guide.

What I Liked

I loved this little book. Forestry happens over such a long time span that it’s hard to imagine what an area looked like. This book gives a good framework and examples.

What I Did Not Like

It’s a bit too short with a focus on New England. I wish it had more examples.

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