Forest Forensics: Clues in the woods to historic crimes against nature, and the consequences today

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An abandoned winch on my property is a clue to the historic deforestation of the Southern Appalachian Mountains from approximately 1880-1930.
An abandoned winch on my property is a clue to the historic deforestation of the Southern Appalachian Mountains from approximately 1880-1930.

“Forest Forensics” was first published in October of 2019 in Blue Ridge Outdoors Online then republished in Rewilding Earth in February 2020.  

“There are no bodies, no police tape, no cluster of curious onlookers. Yet there is plenty of evidence of a historic ecological crime: the deforestation of the eastern United States and consequent massive loss of topsoil. It began slowly at Jamestown and culminated quickly just a century ago in the Appalachian Mountains. Archives document the destruction of virtually all of the vast original eastern forests. The woods remember, too.