.|  Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Demographic and Socioeconomic Research Projects
 
Origins of Professional Forestry in Maryland: 1906-1960
  • Geoff Buckley, Department of Geography, Ohio University
  • Morgan Grove, Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
Description



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

Since its inception in 2000, this project has had two primary goals. The first was to use historical records to reconstruct forest cover for the state of Maryland and the BES study area (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard counties) for the time period ca. 1906-1916. This period was selected 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 second goal of the project was to identify and investigate the key social, political, and economic forces driving forest conservation and management in Maryland in the decades following the establishment of the State Board of Forestry.

Data and Results Numerous data sources were tapped to support this project. Maryland State Board of Forestry maps and reports for the period 1906 – 1944 were collected from archives across the state, including the Maryland Room at the University of Maryland at College Park, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Hall of Records at the Maryland State Archives; hundreds of glass lantern slides and photographs taken during the first half of the twentieth century were acquired from the Maryland State Archives, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and various private collections. Collectively, these photographs cover a wide range of topics, all of which focus on some aspect of professional forest management. Yale School of Forestry alumni records and archival materials from the Beskey-Rodgers family were also obtained. To date, two peer-reviewed journal articles, one encyclopedia entry, and one book (currently under review) have been produced. With respect to findings, our research shows that State Board of Forestry officials worked closely with influential urban elites to advance their forestry agenda. This is especially true in the area of land acquisition. We also offer an assessment of the impact of various forest management strategies and policies during the first half of the twentieth century and cast light on the tension that surfaced between proponents of national forests on the one hand and advocates state forestry on the other.

Presentations

“Cradle of Conservation: Professional Forestry Comes to the South.” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (Denver, CO, April 2005).
 
“Preserving the Patapsco: Creating a ‘Protection and Recreation Forest’ for Baltimore, 1907 - 1933.” Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association (Baltimore, MD, November, 2003).
 
“Patapsco: Maryland's First State Park, 1907 1955.” Annual Baltimore Ecosystem Study Science Meeting (Baltimore, MD, October 2003).
 
“The Patapsco Forest Reserve: Establishing a ‘City Park’ for Baltimore.” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (New Orleans, LA, March 2003).
 
"Using Historical Sources to Explain Forest Cover Loss in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Area." International Conference of Historical Geographers (Quebec, Canada, August 2001)
 
"The Impulse to Conserve: Establishing a Professional Forestry Agency in Maryland." Annual Meeting of the American Society for Environmental History (Durham, NC March 2001)
 
"Maryland's Forests: Decline and recovery, 1906 – 1942." Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (New York, March 2001)
 
"Forest History in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study Area, 1906 – 1921." Annual Baltimore Ecosystem Study Science Meeting (Baltimore, MD, October 2000).
 
"‘A 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).
 

Publications

Buckley, G. L. In review. Cradle of Conservation: Exploring the Origins of Professional Forestry in Maryland.
 
Buckley, G. L., R. F. Bailey, and J. M. Grove. 2006. The Patapsco Forest Reserve: Establishing a “City Park” for Baltimore, 1907 – 1941. Historical Geography 34:87-108.
 
Buckley, G. L. 2006. Maryland's State Forests and Parks. In: Encyclopedia of Appalachia, eds. Jean Haskell and Rudy Abramson. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
 
Buckley, G. L. and J. Morgan Grove. 2001. Sowing the Seeds of Forest Conservation: Fred Besley and the Maryland Story, 1906 - 1923. Maryland Historical Magazine 96 (Fall):303-327.