JCB Fellow's Talk: Juliane Schlag
Juliane Schlag (University of Hull) Paul W. McQuillen Memorial Fellow
"The thinning of the canopy: a social ecological history of New England's old grown forests in the light of colonization (1500-1850)"
What happened to the wilderness which was first encountered by early settlers of today’s region of New England? The different forest which covered large parts of the coastal and interior area of the early, English colonies came to be forgotten in the processes of taming the land, farming cutovers and ploughing the fertile fields of former Native inhabitants. Yet their unique history can still be traced through the pollen they left behind, preserved in the sediments of lakes and bogs. Together with historical evidence of forest exploration we can piece together a new story, telling us about the changing characteristics of human interactions with the natural world. We can trace the meaning of wood as a raw material and cultural asset on one side. On another side we can also learn of the sensitivity of forest ecosystems and long term recovery effects contrasting with our accelerating, human understanding of time.
The Reading Room will close to researchers at 3:30 p.m.