So this is where New England’s famous grouse coverts went…

Up until WW2, much of New England was one big grouse cover – CT, MA, RI & southern ME, NH, VT. As farms were abandoned and the woods reclaimed the fields, upland game birds were everywhere

Today, almost all of this cover is gone. Much of it is under sprawl – highways, houses,  shopping malls, and parking lots. But even more of it under something totally unexpected — mature trees.

In last Sunday’s Boston Globe, reporter Colin Nickerson wrote about this transformation:

“….Today, 80 percent of New England is covered by forest or thick woods. That is a far cry from the mere 30 to 40 percent that remained forested in most parts of the region in the mid-1800s, after early waves of settlers got done with their vast logging, farming and leveling operations.

According to Harvard research, New England is now the most heavily forested region in the United States — a recovery that the great naturalist Henry David Thoreau once thought impossible…”

Swift River Valley Central MA 1890
Central Mass’s Swift River Valley in 1890
Swift River Valley Central MA Today
Central Mass’s Swift River Valley Today

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1 thought on “So this is where New England’s famous grouse coverts went…

  1. But try to suggest that we need selective cutting and thinning of this forest land – and suburban environmentalists go nuts. Much of this forest is heavily browsed by deer and does not provide good forage and habitat for other wildlife, and is an environmental desert. Edge habitat and successional forest is good not just for grouse and woodcock, but for a lot of other species.

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