Forests for Maine’s Future: Maine Just Wants to Be A Forest

The Eastern U.S.: Just Gotta Be a Forest?

By JOE RANKIN, for Forests for Maine’s Future, March 23, 2017

Maine is the most forested state in the nation. About 90 percent.

It wasn’t always that way, of course. European settlers in eastern North America initially confronted what they considered a fearful wilderness of trees. But when settlement ramped up, farmers expeditiously cleared millions of acres of trees to grow fodder for their animals and food for themselves. In Maine, the agricultural tide began to ebb in the mid-1800s and the trees came back.

You’ve probably heard it said that Maine just wants to be a forest. But it’s not just Maine. The whole eastern U.S. “wants” to be a forest. It’s apparently the region’s ecological default setting, though the tree species vary from loblolly pine in the south to tulip poplar to white pine to shagbark hickory and yellow birch, to spruce and fir.

But, why? Read on . . .