Forest Under Story
Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest
Edited by Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J. Swanson
University of Washington Press, 2016
Two kinds of long-term research are taking place at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a renowned research facility in the temperate rain forest of the Oregon Cascades. Here, scientists investigate the ecosystem’s trees, wildlife, water, and nutrients with an eye toward understanding change over varying timescales up to two hundred years or more. And writers from both literary and scientific backgrounds spend time in the forest investigating the ecological and human complexities of this remarkable and deeply studied place.
This anthology-which includes work by some of the nation’s most accomplished writers, including Sandra Alcosser, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Jane Hirshfield, Linda Hogan, Freeman House, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Dean Moore, Robert Michael Pyle, Pattiann Rogers, and Scott Russell Sanders-grows out of the work of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program and showcases the insights of the program’s thoughtful and important encounters among writers, scientists, and place. These vivid essays, poems, and field notes convey a landscape of moss-draped trees, patchwork clear-cuts, stream-swept gravel bars, and hillsides scoured by fire, and also bring forward the ambiguities and paradoxes of conflicting human values and their implications for the ecosystem.
Forest Under Story offers an illuminating and multifaceted way of understanding the ecology and significance of old-growth forests, and points the way toward a new kind of collaboration between the sciences and the humanities to better know and learn from special places.
“In a remarkable project at Oregon’s Andrews Experimental Forest, writers and scientists have been collaborating closely, looking to the land through each others’ eyes, finding meaning in data and direct experience of the forest, deriving new questions from verse and essay. Forest Under Story brings us the gifts of this collaboration. Here some of our keenest observers and thinkers reflect on the ecological reality and human significance of long-term change. To comprehend such change, imagination and information must walk together in our stories. This wonderful collection shows us the way.”―Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work
“There are many ways to see and experience a forest and this diversity is beautifully represented in this collection of poems, essays, and observations by a diverse array of artists who participated in a long-term reflections program at the H. J. Andrews Experimental. In my nearly 60 years of studying the forests of Andrews, I remain humbled by their magnificence―and now by the deep, fresh insights of the many writers represented in this book.”―Jerry Franklin, professor of forest ecosystems, University of Washington
“To learn one place in the world may be the beginning of learning our place in the world. Like the old-growth forest where they were written, these wonderfully thoughtful descriptions, essays, poems, and meditations offer rich and vigorous variety, exquisite detail, and broad vistas of time and possibility.”―Ursula LeGuin