The 1997 environmental conference was co-sponsored by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

The proceedings of this conference were published as a special issue of the journal Northeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 2. It is available for purchase from The Goodwin-Niering Center for $10.

The recovery of the forests of the northeastern United States during the past 150 years is remarkable. Regions that were 80 to 90% farmland in the mid-nineteenth century are 60 to 80% forested. Forest now covers the stone walls, cellars and roads of an earlier agricultural society. Species that had disappeared, or almost disappeared, from the Northeast - moose, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, beaver, and pileated woodpeckers - are common again, and the maturing forests are regaining a rich diversity of native plants. The resurgence of the eastern hardwood forest provides optimists with compelling evidence of the resiliency and endurance of natural systems.

At the same time, the new forests face severe and unprecedented threats. Introduced pathogens and insect pests remove one species of tree after another from entire regions. Acid rain changes the quality of the forest soil, potentially stunting the growth of plants. Housing developments and roads break the continuity of the forest, and timber harvesting intensifies in some of the largest expanses of forest. Only a careful assessment of the overall impact of these disturbances and of the extent of forest recovery will permit us to effectively manage the northeastern forest in order to create sustainable management strategies and determine if the biological diversity and ecological functioning of the northeastern forest can be restored and sustained.


John Banta, Planner and Land Use Attorney, Adirondack Park Agency: Land Protection and Local Control

David Foster, Forest Ecologist, Harvard Forest: Looking Back and Seeing Forward: An Historical Perspective of the Northeastern Forest

John Hagan, Ecologist, Manomet Observatory: The Future of Industrial Forestry and the Implications to Biodiversity in the Northeast

James Kahn, Economist, University of Tennessee: Policies for Promoting Economic Efficiency and Sustainability in the Northeastern Forest

John Kricher
, Ornithologist, Wheaton College: The Adirondack Park - Nothing Endures But Change: A Brief History of Birds and Mammals in Eastern Forests

Gene Likens, Limnologist, Institute of Ecosystem Studies: Effects of Acid Rain on Forest Productivity

Orie Loucks
, Ecologist, Miami University: Mixed Mesophytic Forest and Forest Decline

Marsha McKeague, Forest Manager, Great Northern Paper: Forest Sustainability and Maine's Working Forest

William Niering, Ecologist, Connecticut College: Forces that Shaped the Forest