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.
Charles Goodrich Entries into the Forest
Part One Research and Revelation
1. The Long Haul / Robert Michael Pyle
2. The Web / Alison Hawthorne Deming
3. Scope: Ten Small Essays / John R. Campbell
4. Ground Work: Natural History of the Andrews Forest Landscape
5. Threads / Vicki Graham
6. Interview with a Watershed / Robin Wall Kimmerer
7. One-Day Field Count / Michael G. Smith
8. Specimens Collected at the Clear-Cut / Alison Hawthorne Deming
9. Forest Duff: A Poetic Sampling / Kristin Berger
10. Pacific Dogwood / Jerry Martien
11. Riparian / Sandra Alcosser
12. Ground Word: Old Growth
13. Each Step an Entry / Linda Hogan
14. Cosymbionts, The Art of Science and from Drainage Basin, Lookout Creek / Vicki Graham
15. Log Decomposition / Joan Maloof
16. Decomposition and Memory / Aaron M. Ellison
17. Ground Word: Decomposition
18. In the Experimental Forest, and Notes for a Prose Poem: Scientific Questions One Could Ask
19. Among the Douglas-Firs / Joseph Bruchac
20. From "Where the Forests Breath" / Brian Turner
21. From "Varieties of Attentiveness" / Freeman House
22. Poetry-Science Gratitude Duet / Alison Hawthorne Deming and Frederick J. Swanson
Part Two Change and Continuity
1. Genesis: Primeval Rivers and Forests / Pattiann Rogers
2. Forests and People: a meandering reflection on changing relationships between forests and human culture / Bill Yake
3. From "Out of Time" / Scott Slovic
4. "Ten-Foot Gnarly Stick" and "Pondering" / James Bertoli
5. In the Palace of Rot / Thomas Lowe Fleischner
6. Ground Work: Disturbance
7. New Channel / Jeff Fearnside
8. Slough, Decay, and the Odor of Soil / Bill Yake
9. From "The Mountain Lion" / Tim Fox
10. Ground Work: Northern Spotted Owl
11. The Other Side of the Clear-Cut / Laird Christensen
12. Clear-Cut / Joan Maloof
13. Ground Work: Forest Practices
14. Hope Tour: Three Stops / Lori Anderson Moseman
15. Purity and Change: Reflections in an Old-Growth Forest / John Elder
Part Three Borrowing Others' Eyes
1. Wild Ginger / Jane Hirshfield
2. This Day, Tomorrow, and the Next / Pattiann Rogers
3. Portrait: Parsing My Wife as Lookout Creek / Andrew C. Gottlieb
4. On Assignment in the H.J. Andrews, the Poet Thinks of Her Ovaries / Maya Jewell Zeller
5. Piles of Pale Green / Joseph Bruchac
6. Design / Jerry Martien
7. Listening to Water / Robin Wall Kimmerer
8. Ground Work: Water
9. For the Lobaria, Usnea, Witch's Hair, Map Lichen, Ground Lichen, Shield Lichen / Jane Hirshfield
10. The Owl, Spotted / Alison Hawthorne Deming
11. From "Field Notes" / Thomas Lowe Fleischner
12. Return of the dead log people / Jerry Martien
13. Denizens of Decay / Tom A. Titus
14. Ground Work: Soundscape
15. Mind in the Forest / Scott Russell Sanders
16. Coda / Vicki Graham
17. Afterword: Advice to a Future Reader / Kathleen Dean Moore
For Further Reading
About the Editors
About the Contributors
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
"The publication of Forest Under Story represents a turning point in cross-disciplinary collaboration between scientists and writers [...] Forest Under Story is very successful in its ability to inspire in the reader an ecological awareness of the temperate forests in Oregon and elsewhere."
– Erik F. Ringle, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
"Forest Under Story demonstrates that a holistic survey of any forest includes not just data, charts and EIS, but also stories and reflections from the human heart."
– Cascadia Weekly (2016 Gift Guide for Greenies)