The Return of the Forest: Urbanization and Reforestation in the Northeastern United States

EPA Grant Number: U915420
Title: The Return of the Forest: Urbanization and Reforestation in the Northeastern United States
Investigators: Stroud, Ellen
Institution: Columbia University in the City of New York
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 8, 1998 through August 1, 2001
Project Amount: $83,291
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental History , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships


The objective of this research project is to investigate the relationship between the regrowth of forests in the northeastern United States during this century and the concurrent growth of northeastern cities.


In my analysis of the processes of reforestation in the northeastern United States, I focus on the interaction between the city and its hinterlands, arguing that it is no coincidence that the most heavily urbanized part of the country has experienced the most dramatic return of woodlands. My hypothesis is that the desires and physical needs of city people encouraged and required the return of the forest. I am tracing the history of five types of northeastern forests—watershed forests, "wild" forests, farm woodlots, industrial forests, and forested suburbs. These five forest types are found throughout the northeastern United States, although their significance varies by time and place. My inquiry focuses on municipal watersheds in Pennsylvania, "wilderness" in New Hampshire's White Mountains, farm woodlots in Vermont and New Hampshire, industrial forests in Maine, and forested suburbs outside of Boston. This case study approach allows a close analysis of the complexity and nuance of landscape change.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, watersheds, development, urban planning, public policy, conservation, social sciences, history, Atlantic Coast, Maine, ME, New Hampshire, NH, Vermont, VT, Massachusetts, MA, Pennsylvania, PA, reforestation, northeastern United States., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, Restoration, State, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Mid-Atlantic, Ecology and Ecosystems, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Urban and Regional Planning, Ecological Indicators, New Hampshire (NH), reforestation, Vermont (VT), Pennsylvania, urbanization and reforestation, Massachusetts (MA), White Mountains (New Hampshire), Philadelphia, forests, forested farms, wild forests, watershed forests, woodlands, industrial forest, Maine (ME), Boston

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final