You are here

Harvard Forest Data Archive


Forest Change and Human Populations in New England 1600-2006

Related Publications



  • Lead: David Foster, Ernest Gould
  • Investigators:
  • Contact: David Foster
  • Start date: 1600
  • End date: 2006
  • Status: completed
  • Location: New England
  • Latitude: +40.5 to +47.5
  • Longitude: -74.3 to -66.9
  • Elevation: 0 to 1900 meter
  • Taxa:
  • Release date: 2009
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.13.17
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: historical
  • Research topic: historical and retrospective studies; regional studies
  • LTER core area: disturbance
  • Keywords: humans, land use, populations, vegetation dynamics
  • Abstract:

    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.

  • Methods:

    Data were compiled by E. Gould and D.R. Foster. Population data are from the U.S. Census; forest cover data are from Baldwin (1942), and United States Forest Service (1958, 1965, 1973 and 1990).

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Foster D, Gould E. 2009. Forest Change and Human Populations in New England 1600-2006. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF013.

Detailed Metadata

hf013-01: forest area

  1. year: year
  2. source: source
    • 1: Baldwin, H. I. 1942. Forestry in New England. National Resources Planning Board Publication 70, Boston, Massachusetts
    • 2: U.S. Forest Service Reappraisal Project figures
    • 3: USFS. 1958. Timber resources for America’s future. USFS USDA Forest Resource Report no. 14
    • 4: USFS. 1965. Timber trends in the United States. USFS USDA Forest Resource Report No. 17
    • 5: USFS. 1973. The outlook for timber in the United States. USFS USDA Forest Resource Report No. 20
    • 6: USFS. 1990. New England’s forests. USFS USDA Northeastern Forest Experiment Station NE-INF-91-90
    • 7: USFS Northeastern Research Station FIA Website, March 2003. Date listed as 1998; actual FIA inventory for each state: CT, 1998; MA, 1998; ME, 1995; NH, 1997; RI, 1998; VT, 1997
    • 8: USFS Northern Research Station FIA Website, November 2008.
  3. ct: forest area in thousands of acres for Connecticut (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  4. ma: forest area in thousands of acres for Massachusetts (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  5. me: forest area in thousands of acres for Maine (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  6. nh: forest area in thousands of acres for New Hampshire (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  7. ri: forest area in thousands of acres for Rhode Island (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  8. vt: forest area in thousands of acres for Vermont (unit: acre / missing value: NA)
  9. ne: forest area in thousands of acres for New England (unit: acre / missing value: NA)

hf013-02: human population

  1. year: year Every 10 years for 1770-2000 and every 20 years for 1630-1750
  2. ct: human population in Connecticut (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  3. ma: human population in Massachusetts (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  4. me: human population in Maine (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  5. nh: human population in New Hampshire (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  6. ri: human population in Rhode Island (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  7. vt: human population in Vermont (unit: number / missing value: NA)