Early surveyors' witness-tree records from initial land divisions are often used to reconstruct the vegetation at the time of European settlement and before extensive Euro-American land use. The following description of methods comes from the published paper (Hall, B., G .Motzkin, D. R. Foster, M. Syfert and J. Burk. 2002. Three hundred years of forest and land-use change in Massachusetts, USA. Journal of Biogeography 29, 1319-1335): "Following methods described more fully in Cogbill et al. (2002), we used early surveyors' tree records from initial land divisions in each town to reconstruct the vegetation at the time of European settlement and before extensive Euro-American land use. All available original 17th - early 19th century survey records located at the state archives and individual town halls were examined and colloquial or common names of marker trees were noted... With few exceptions, only surveys that occurred within 80 years of town settlement were gathered in order to limit the potential influence of European land use on species composition."