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New Publications by the Forest History Society

The Society's Publication Program regularly produces new scholarship in the fields of forest, conservation, and environmental history. Our most recent offerings are described below.

To order any Forest History Society (FHS) title, please contact the publisher listed for each work or contact the Society at:

  701 William Vickers Ave.
  Durham, NC, 27701-3162
  Tel.: (919) 682-9319
  Fax: (919) 682-2349

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Tongass Timber: A History of Logging and Timber Utilization in Southeast Alaska
by James Mackovjak


By the late 19th century, the forests of Southeast Alaska were being eyed for economic development and commercial interests had begun harvesting the high-quality Sitka spruce and other species in Alaska's panhandle. The arrival of high-intensity logging in the 20 th century and the establishment of wood pulp mills beginning in 1954, and lasting more than four decades, exposed the environmental and economic limitations of an integrated wood products industry in Alaska. Tongass Timber traces the history of the many attempts to develop the region's forests, revealing the forces that influence the present choices about forest management in Southeast Alaska.


© 2010 by the
Forest History Society.

386 pp.; 77 figures. Softcover.

$19.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

James Mackovjak is an independent scholar who lives in Gustavus, Alaska. He moved to Alaska in 1970, where he became involved in forest issues in the 1980s. During the late 1990s, he was a member of the governor's Southeast Alaska Timber Task Force. His local history, Hope & Hard Work: The Early Settlers at Gustavus, Alaska , was published in 1988. More recently, he wrote the forthcoming Navigating Troubled Waters: A History of Commercial Fishing in Glacier Bay, Alaska , for the National Park Service. Current projects include a history of maritime freight service to the Aleutian Islands area and an administrative history of Lake Clark National Park.

Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

America's Fires: A Historical Context for Policy and Practice
by Stephen J. Pyne

America does not have a fire problem. It has many fire problems. The policy of fire exclusion through most of the 20th century seemed successful at first but eventually lead to larger, more intense, and damaging fires. By the mid-1970s federal agencies pulled back from the fire suppression model and embraced a mix of fire practices, including forms of prescribed burning and let-burn policies.

The 1988 fires in Yellowstone National Park carried fire issues to the public, advertising the ecological significance of free-burning fire and the dilemmas of trying to manage it. In America's Fires, Stephen Pyne, the world's leading fire historian, reviews the historical context of our fire issues and policies. The resulting analysis shows why it is imperative that the nation review its policies toward wildland fires and find ways to live with them more intelligently.

This revised edition was published with support from David L. Luke III, The National Forest Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, MeadWestvaco Corporation, and the Lynn W. Day Endowment for Forest History Publications.

© 2010 by the
Forest History Society.

94 pp.; 18 photos; 33 maps and figures.

$9.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

Stephen J. Pyne is a professor of biology at Arizona State University and a professional pyromantic. He specializes in environmental history and the history of exploration.

Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

© 2008 by the
Forest History Society.
400 pages; 25 photos; 50 figures

$24.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

Forest Aesthetics
by Heinrich von Salisch; trans. by Walter L. Cook, Jr. and Doris Wehlau

Foresters will marvel at the similarities of problems and situations between Central European forestry of the late nineteenth century and late twentieth-century American forestry while reading Forest Aesthetics, a textbook written in 1902 by Heinrich von Salisch and translated by Walter L. Cook Jr. and Doris Wehlau (Durham: Forest History Society, 2008). Von Salisch, a forester and forest landowner in then-German Silesia who rebelled against his profession's addiction to economic forestry and its attendant clearcutting, argued that there was a middle ground and room for not only protecting the forest's attractiveness, but that through simple compromises, land managers could enhance the beauty of the forest without forgoing income. With its publication, von Salisch became the central promoter of aesthetics, trail maintenance, and forest health. Landscape management and design students and professionals will gain insight into the origins of forestry and landscape design, while others will find jewels of forest history in the author's philosophy and practical applications.

"This book brings to English readers direct encounter with original concepts of forest aesthetics. Through this translation, a great thinker and practitioner speaks across time and space to organize and guide integrated management of today's multiple demands on forest and open-space resources."
-Bruce K. Ferguson, Franklin Professor of Landscape Architecture, School of Environmental Design, University of Georgia
Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

Common Goals for Sustainable Forest Management
Edited by V. Alaric Sample and Steven Anderson

Forestry in Europe and the United States shares common roots in forest management and in the institutional, legal, and policy frameworks that form the basis for sustainable forest management. It was Europe, in the late nineteenth century, that introduced the basic principles of forestry to the United States. During the 20th century, the policy framework and social conditions for forestry on the two continents developed along distinctly different lines.

Now, European and American forestry institutions are focusing on many of the same concerns- sustainable wood production, biodiversity conservation, protection of water quality, climate change mitigation, and sustainable economic development in rural communities as a few examples. This reconvergence is resulting in new strategic alliances among forestry institutions on both continents.

© 2008 by the
Forest History Society and the
Pinchot Institute for Conservation.
399 pp., figures, tables.

$24.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

To recognize this historic connection between European and American forestry and to set the stage for further alliances, a set of two colloquia were convened, one in Europe and one in the United States that brought together forest managers, researchers, and policymakers from both continents. The papers herein explore the convergence, divergence, and reconvergence of forest management, education, and practice in Europe and the United States.
Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

© 2007 by the
Forest History Society and the Foothills Model Forest
306 pp., 154 photos, 28 maps, timeline, index.

Hardcover: $42.95, Softcover: $29.95.

A Hard Road to Travel: Land, Forests and People in the Upper Athabasca Region
by Peter J. Murphy with Robert W. Udell, Robert E. Stevenson, and Thomas W. Peterson

"Treating the Athabasca corridor for its entire non-Native history, A Hard Road to Travel takes its readers through two parallel histories brought together as one. It tells the stories of not just the fur traders on the transcontinental route between Hudson Bay and the Pacific Ocean, nor just the tourists, alpinists, skiers, and campers making annual pilgrimages to the mountains, but also the miners and foresters, the freighters and surveyors, the railway builders and homesteaders, the guides and wardens (horses in tow), forest industrialists and their provincial and federal government counterparts, and the forests and wildlife of the Athabasca."
--From the foreword by I.S. MacLaren.

Peter J. Murphy is Professor Emeritus of Forest Science at the University of Alberta. He has written numerous books and articles on forestry topics, many of which contain a historical perspective.
Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

© 2007 by the
Forest History Society.
182 pp., notes, index.

$19.95 plus $4.00 shipping.

Ground Work: Conservation in American Culture
by Char Miller

Ground Work offers intriguing insights into American conservation history. Miller demonstrates his remarkable ability as a historian to cast new light on familiar events and figures, such as Bernhard Fernow and Gifford Pinchot, and create a deeper and richer understanding of their significance, both in their times and in our own. Ground Work is a series of vignettes rather than a chronologically continuous tale. It spans topics from the Progressive Era roots of the American conservation movement, on which Miller has proven his virtuosity in earlier works such as Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism, to new insights into the impact of documentary films on the environmental perceptions of 21st-century urban America. Advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental and forest history will find these essays stimulating, general nonfiction readers very enlightening.

Char Miller specializes in American environmental, cultural, and urban history at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He served as chair of the History Department from 1998 to 2004, and since 2001 has been Director of Urban Studies. His books include: Deep in the Heart of San Antonio: Land & Life in South Texas ; Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism (award winner); The Greatest Good: 100 Years of Forestry in America ; and Gifford Pinchot: The Evolution of An American Conservationist . Miller is editor of The Atlas of U.S. and Canadian Environmental History ; On the Border: An Environmental History of San Antonio ; Fluid Arguments: Five Centuries of Western Water Conflict ; Water and the Environment: Global Perspectives (With Mark Cioc and Kate Showers); Water and the West: A High Country News Reader ; American Forests: Nature, Culture, and Politics ; Out of the Woods: Essays in Environmental History (With Hal K. Rothman).
Order Online, or contact the Forest History Society at 919-682-9319.

The Greatest Good

From the timbered shores of the Pacific Northwest to the marble halls of Washington, DC, the choices about how we use our natural heritage are filled with controversy. Whether it is the protection of endangered species or meeting the needs of a growing public, the fate of public lands is constantly challenged. The journey from the "wise use" of resources to the idea of a "land ethic" has defined the evolution of the Forest Service.

The Greatest Good is a story of America's land-a story told in the new film, The Greatest Good, and the companion book, The Forest Service and The Greatest Good: A Centennial History. It is a story of the public land we all own and where we resolve our conflicting interests. Since 1905, the United States Forest Service has been at the forefront of this ongoing experiment of democracy on the ground. An experiment that asks: What is the greatest good?

The Greatest Good 3-Disc DVD Set

The Greatest Good DVD cover

The Companion Book to the Film 

The Greatest Good book cover

The Greatest Good:
A Forest Service Centennial Film

Disc 1: The Feature Film: The Greatest Good
* Letterbox format
Discs 2-3: Bonus Materials include featurettes on:
* Forest Service Culture
* The Story of Smokey Bear
* Historic Forest Service films
* Extended interviews
* The Forest Service on Stage and Film
* "Now Hear This" : Forest Service Audio Clips

Full List of Contents

The Forest Service and The Greatest Good:
A Centennial History

The Companion Book to the Film
by James G. Lewis

The Forest Service and the Greatest Good: A Centennial History traces the agency's development from its beginnings as a one-man research outfit to today's broad-based operation of over 30,000 employees overseeing 191 million acres of public land. Richly illustrated, The Forest Service and the Greatest Good provides an entertaining and informative account of the Forest Service's first one hundred years as it enters a new century of service.

Music Soundtrack is also available!

The Greatest Good CD cover

Order the DVD and Book Together and Save!

Updated: June 17, 2014