As part of retrospective studies of land-use across New England, information was compiled on forest cover and human population for the New England states. Excluding Maine, where the northern forest region was never settled and remained forested, the states share a common history of deforestation for agriculture followed by farm abandonment and natural reforestation. The extent to which these secondary forests differ in structure and function from permanently wooded areas or the forests of the pre-settlement period forms a major research emphasis of Harvard Forest studies.
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