Forest Under Story

Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest

Edited by Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J. Swanson

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  • $29.95 hardcover (9780295995458) Add to Cart
  • Published: March 2016
  • Subject Listing: Literature / Creative Nonfiction; Nature and Environment, Environmental Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 264 pp., 14 illus., 2 maps, 5.5 x 8.5 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Ruth Kirk Book Fund
  • Contents

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.
Nathaniel Brodie is a freelance writer; Charles Goodrich is a poet and director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word at Oregon State University; and Frederick J. Swanson is research geologist emeritus, Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service.

"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


"In the Andrews Experimental Forest, 'experimental' is the domain of the scientist and writer alike. It is also the domain of the forest itself. . . . Forest Under Story seems keenly aware that the most important feature of language involves listening. When writers listen to the forest, when they press their ears against the bark of a hemlock or yew, the forest always speaks, however softly."
-Lawrence Lenhart, High Country News