|photo by David Foster & Harvard Forest Archive|
A view of the Swift River Valley in Central Massachusetts, photographed in 1890 is on the left. The image shows extensive forest clearing for homesteading and agriculture. The same view photographed today is on the right. Forests have made a similar recovery in many parts of the Northeastern U.S.
|photo John Burk|
|JACKIE RICCIARDI FOR THE GLOBE|
David Foster, director of Harvard Forest, stood near a rock wall that had been a fence in a pasture during the 1800s, in an area now overtaken by trees. Now I have to say, this photo really intrigued me because in the vast dense woods around Gothenburg Sweden were I reside, there are all manner of ancient large stone walls running all through Swedish Forests on Hissingen. I've always wondered why we have so many of these walls in our forests over here which are actually centuries old boundaries that have no meaning today. Well, now I know why and for the very same reason as the info from this study and historical photographs.
This is an old stone wall in the Forest around Biskapsgatan in Hissingen across from Göteborg Sweden. This particular view inside the forest is just in the woods behind my house. These walls can literally be found running through the woods everywhere and with no apparent logical direction or reason why someone would put the effort into them in the first place. Of course the woods are dense and it's always been a mystery to me why farmers would have bother centuries ago to build walls in deep dense forests over awkward terrain. Trees even grow up out of some walls. Two days ago I was asking a neighbour and some other in the know about the history of the area. They said Hissingen had been stripped in many parts a few centuries back for agriculture. Funny, I always thought some land grabbing Viking Clans did it in competition with each other. Well at least now I am a little wiser as to their origin thanks mostly to Harvard School of Forestry. This isn't the first time I've been impressed with some of their articles and research.
Below here are the references you'll need for further reading