This program is based on Tom’s book, “Reading
the Forested Landscape, A Natural History of New England”. It introduces people
to approaches used to interpret a forest’s history while wandering through it.
Using evidence such as the shapes of trees, scars on their trunks, the pattern
of decay in stumps, the construction of stonewalls, and the lay of the land, it
is possible to unravel complex stories etched into our forested landscape. This
process could easily be called forest forensics, since it is quite similar to
interpreting a crime scene.
Tom Wessels is an ecologist and founding director of the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. He is the current chair of The Center for Whole Communities that fosters inclusive communities that are strongly rooted in place and where all people—regardless of income, race, or background—have access to and a healthy relationship with land. He served as an ecological consultant to the Rain Forest Alliance’s SmartWood Green Certification Program. In that capacity Tom helped draft green certification assessment guidelines for forest operations in the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Tom has conducted landscape level workshops throughout the United States for over 30 years. His books include: Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape.