Stalking the Mother Forest: Voices Beneath the Canopy

  • Cove Topography

    The Mixed Mesophytic Forest On a mid-December morning, my commuter plane en route from Washington, D.C., to Charleston, West Virginia, traverses in a matter of minutes Virginia's historic Piedmont. Gaining altitude, the plane bisects the ridge and valley of the Shenandoah, where the Skyline Drive meanders south toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. Soon after, the horizon opens onto the great Allegheny and Cumberland plateaus, ...

  • Forest Health

    Narratives of Development To comprehend the condition of this forest, you have to get under the canopy and listen. From Charleston, drive the interstate as far as Marmet and then head south along Route 94 as it follows the tributary of Lens Creek to Racine. From there Route 3 winds south and east through District 17 of the United Mine Workers, past dozens of ...

  • "Like a Thief Through the Air"

    Discourses of Forest Decline In beer joints and living rooms, on porches and ridgetops, one hears people talking about a forest on the wane. "The men that like to hunt and be out ginsenging and will be all over the woods," said Robert Allen, of Peachtree Creek. "I've heard a lot of them talk about the way the timber is falling and dying out." ...

  • Biodiversity

    A Seasonal Round, and National Forest Policy Even in what residents perceive to be a deteriorated state, the comparative vitality of this forest is striking. Following his first visit to the coves on Coal River, plant pathologist David Houston of the USFS Northeastern experiments station commented, "I marvelled at the lushness and species diversity and the magnitude of the trees."10 Around that lushness, diversity, ...

  • "Holding up the Mountains"

    Forest Talk as Historical Discourse As talk about change, forest talk is part of a larger effort to construct local history through historical discourse.11 Constructing history, people relate themselves to their surroundings and position that relationship in time. History is, as Henry Glassie writes, "a prime mode of cultural construction...a way people organize reality to investigate truth to survive in their own terms."12 On ...