This no-holds-barred narrative of the failure of conservation in northern New England’s forests envisions a wilder, more equitable, lower-carbon future for forest-dependent communities
Jamie Sayen approaches the story of northern New England’s undeveloped forests from the viewpoints of the previously unheard: the forest and the nonhuman species it sustains, the First Peoples, and, in more recent times, the disenfranchised human voices of the forest, including those of loggers, mill workers, and citizens who, like Henry David Thoreau, wish to speak a kind word for nature.
From 1988 to 2016 paper companies sold their timberlands and closed seventeen paper mills in northern New England. Policy makers ceded veto power to large absentee landowners, who tried to preserve the status quo by demanding additional tax cuts and other subsidies for economic elites. They vetoed measures designed to restore and preserve forest health; at present, about half of the former industrial forests are classified as degraded, and the regional economy continues to be trapped in low-value commodity markets.
This book operates as a case study of how a rural resource region can respond to a global economy responsible for climate change, habitat loss and degradation, and environmental injustice. Sayen offers a blueprint for restoring vast wildlands and transitioning to a lower-carbon, high-value-adding, local economy, while protecting the natural rights of humans, nonhumans, and unborn generations.
Jamie Sayen is an environmental activist and author of Einstein in America: The Scientist’s Conscience in the Age of Hitler and Hiroshima and You Had a Job for Life: The Story of a Company Town. He lives in Stratford, NH.
“[Sayen’s] book is tremendously important given the compelling narrative and the global significance of this chunk of land that comprises nearly one-quarter of the New England region.”—David Foster, From the Ground Up
“From the first lifted colonial axe to the cold globalist clearcuts, Children of the Northern Forest is a fact-based and fierce forest history. Ecological warrior Jamie Sayen confronts the reader with the destruction of New England forests.”—Annie Proulx, author of Barkskins
“No one has labored longer and harder for the protection of the northern forest than Jamie Sayen—from the western edge of the mighty Adirondacks to the vast forests of Maine’s interior he has done the work that earns him the right to tell this story. And he tells it with style, heart, and clarifying insight: it belongs on the shelf of everyone who wanders in these woods.”—Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
“Children of the Northern Forest examines why more than thirty years of strenuous conservation efforts have failed to protect northern New England’s forest, and presents a vision of a better future for the region and all its creatures.”—Brian Donahue, author of The Great Meadow and Reclaiming the Commons
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