.|  Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Vegetation Research Projects

Forest History in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Area, 1906 - 1916
  • Geoff Buckley, Dept. of Geography, Ohio University
  • Morgan Grove, Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

This project has two primary goals. The first is to reconstruct the forest cover for the state of Maryland and for the BES study area (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties) for the time period ca. 1906-1916. The second is to identify key social and economic forces driving ecological change at this time. The period selected is critical because it was during this time that a professional forestry agency was established in Maryland. It was also during this time that the first detailed maps of forest cover were constructed for the region. The mapping project was initiated by Maryland's State Board of Forestry (created in 1906) and spearheaded by Maryland's first (and only the country's third) state forester, Fred W. Besley. The survey, much of which was carried out by Besley on foot or by horse and buggy, took approximately seven years to complete and is purported to be "the first accurate, detailed account of the forest resources of any state."

Data and Data Collection

The Maryland State Board of Forestry maps and reports are found scattered in several repositories in Maryland, including the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland at College Park and the Hall of Records at the Maryland State Archives. The Maryland State Archives possesses hundreds of glass lantern slides and photographs taken during the first half of the twentieth century. These photographs cover a wide range of topics, all of which focus on the state's public lands.

Early Maryland Forestry Photographs
Click on an image for a larger view

Presentations "Forest History in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Area, 1906 - 1921" Annual Baltimore Ecosystem Study Science Meeting (Baltimore, MD, October 2000).

"ĎA Playground for the Public': Maryland's Forest Reserves, 1906 - 1921." Annual Meeting of the Eastern Historical Geographers Association (Bar Harbor, ME, October 2000).

"Historical Analysis of Forest Cover in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Area, 1906-1916."
Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (Pittsburgh, PA, April 2000).


Buckley, G. L. and J. Morgan Grove. Submitted. Anatomy of a State Lands Movement: The Maryland Story, 1906 - 1923. Maryland Historical Magazine.