Synopses & Reviews
In 2006, conservationists everywhere celebrated the 100thanniversary of professional forestry in Maryland, the Old Line State. Under theleadership of Fred Wilson Besley, Maryland's first and the nation's third stateforester, scientific forest management and the larger conservation impulse becamefirmly ensconced. A prot g of America's most famous forester, Gifford Pinchot, Besley moved aggressively to implement pioneering scientific and conservationpractices that are commonplace today. Besley helped to stem the tide of forest lossfrom excessive logging and rampant fire, he started a state forest nursery andlaunched a program to reforest thousands of acres of wastelandalong utilitarian principles, and, perhaps his greatest legacy, he built anexemplary system of state forest reserves that today form the nucleus of Maryland'snetwork of public lands. Although more than fifty years have passed since Besley'sdeath, his legacy as a pioneer in conservation and forestry science liveson.
Less well known to environmental historians is the city ofBaltimore's extensive experience with professional forestry during the past century, a movement and legacy that is ongoing today. Recently, for example, city officialsannounced plans to double Baltimore's tree canopy -- the total area covered byleaves -- in the next thirty years. It is an ambitious goal for a city that, fordecades, has been removing more trees than it has been planting, because ofpollution, neglect, and lack of funding.
America'sConservation Impulse: A Century of Saving Trees in the Old LineState explores the roots and early history of professional forestmanagement in Maryland and in Baltimore and how that history coincides withAmerica's larger conservation impulse. Many of the ideas that began here gainedregional and national attention. The book also examines the unique challenges thatresource managers and citizens alike have faced in the past and must confront in thefuture -- in Maryland and across America -- if we are to secure the survival of ourforest heritage. As we look ahead to the next 100 years,concludes author Geoffrey L. Buckley, it is imperative that we recognizethe impact that our resource management decisions, land-use practices, and lifestylechoices have on our forest resources. Only then can we begin to plan more wisely forthe future.