Monday, January 31, 2005

A New England Forest

A few years ago my sons and I joined my brother and his family at a time share condo in northern New Hampshire. The timeshare itself was located in a heavily forested area of the mountains of New Hampshire.

The countryside was mostly evergreen forest broken by the occasional small farm or town. But as we drove around I was perplexed by the seemingly endless rows of neatly piled rocks that separated the edge of the forest from the shoulder of the road. The rock fences were obviously man-made but did not seem to serve any purpose. Even more perplexing were the occasional additional rows that were perpendicular to the ones parallel to the road. These cut through the forest and served absolutely no purpose. I remembered from history books and old Robert Frost poems that the New England soil was rocky and farmers dug huge quantities of rock out of the ground in order to be able to plow and plant crops on it. They used these rocks to make fences.

But, what purpose was served by digging up rocks and building fences in the middle of a forest? My question was answered when my sister, who lived in neighboring Vermont, joined us for the weekend. The forest we were in was not some timeless entity – it was a relatively new forest. The rocks had been dug up and used to build fences by the farmers who once lived there. What is now forest was a few decades back, endless miles of neatly laid out fields. Until about fifty years ago or so this was farm country. However, New England farms were marginal at best and improvements in agricultural technology meant that we could now grow more food on less land. So farmers in New England abandoned their farms and took higher paying jobs in the manufacturing sector and the land reverted to forest.

Today, all over the eastern half of the United States, agriculture has declined to such an extent that much of the area has reverted to forest. In fact we now have more trees in the U.S. than we had when Columbus first arrived in the New World. Economic growth and advances in technology have not only provided us with more food, more wealth and more leisure time but has also resulted in more forests and wilderness despite the largest population concentration in the history of the area.

4 comments:

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ebook quality resale rights said...

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Pardon my bad typing! LOL - (:--).

Say, I'm curious if you've ever seen a e book with resell right ? Do you sell them too?

So far I've sold a few - it's been interesting to say the least. Lot's of hard work. Errggg. Mostly been marketing them through my site called: http://www.TonOFeBooks.com .

Ooops, this post is a bit more than planned,
Well,
Keep your (:--) UP anyhow and God Bless ya!
Chad.

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