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Our New Hampshire - Our Renewable Resource
Series InformationAcknowledgementsIntroducing New HampshirePeople of the DawnEarly SettlementsInland SettlementsWork in Colonial TimesEducation: Then and NowAmerican Revolution: LoyaltiesAmerican Revolution: ContrastsTransportation: Yesterday and TodayManchester and the AmoskeagMount WashingtonModern New Hampshire IndustryOur Renewable ResourceOur State Capital at WorkPorstmouth: Clues to the Past
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People to Know
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This lesson examines the forests of New Hampshire, past and present. Forests are an important part of New Hampshire's way of life. Close to 85% of our state's 5.7 million acres is forested. Over 16,000 New Hampshire citizens work in the forest industry and the forest industry contributes $1.7 billion to the state's economy.Life in New Hampshire would be very different without our forests, which give us many important products, and provide us with shade, rest, recreation and beauty. They also play a key role in nature's ecological cycle.

New Hampshire's forests have played a major part in the state's history. The first job of the early settlers of New Hampshire (1620s) was to clear some of the forest to plant and raise the food crops that would keep them alive. The real beginning of New Hampshire's logging industry was in 1634. That was the year the first shipment of tall pines arrived in England to be made into masts for the ships of the Kinq's Navy. The tall pine trade with England ended with the American Revolution, but the forests of New Hampshire continued to be cleared for farmland right up through the 1840s and 1850s. By then, about 70% of the land south of the White Mountains had been cleared. Many New Hampshire farms were abandoned as the settlers moved in the 1850s to the richer farmlands of the Midwest.

In the late 1880s, logging became a major industry in New Hampshire, especially in the hardwood forests of the North Country. This was the North Country's greatest, most intense logging era. The careless harvesting methods of the late 1880s set the stage for terrible fires that raged annually through North Country forests.

Several things changed this picture of wasted forests and uncontrolled fires. Laws were passed to protect the great forests and establish the U.S. National Forest Service. Silas Weeks, a senator from New Hampshire, was one of the leaders in this effort. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought most business and industry to a standstill. This gave New Hampshire's forests a chance to recover. Third, the people in the logging industry in New Hampshire today know how vital it is to manage the woodlands carefully. These people have the knowledge, skills and equipment to do the job well. There are many steps in the proper harvesting of New Hampshire's woodlands, ranging from the choice of trees to be cut to the separation of the tree into its various products.

In addition to the basic products of the logging industry, lumber and paper, New Hampshire forests produce more than 50 kinds of wood products: crates, coat hangers, kitchen cabinets, and many other things. Our forests of today are not an endless resource, as was once believed, but they are a renewable resource .


1. To examine the forests of New Hampshire historically and in the present.

2. To further students' awareness of the importance of forests in New Hampshire's way of life.

3. To increase knowledge about the products obtained from our logging industry.

4. To further understanding of today's logging industry.

5. To increase students' understanding of the nature of our forests--a renewable, but not an endless resource.


1. Discuss the ways in which people earn their livings in the students' communities. List those jobs which provide employment because of our forests.

2. Define the term "way of life." Describe how our way of life in New Hampshire is affected by our forests.

3. Ask students to list five uses for wood--a basic material obtained from the trees in our forests.

4. Examine your own classroom, listing all the products made from wood.

5. Discuss the class's interactions and experiences with New Hampshire's forests.


1. Pretend that you are living in colonial times. Describe your dependence on wood.

2. Research the history of logging in New Hampshire.

3. You are an agent of the English king during the time period 1634-1775. Write a mandate concerning the tall pines of New Hampshire. Present your restrictions to the class.

4. Pretend that you are a lumberjack living in the 1880s. Describe your feelings about invading the forests of New Hampshire. Why were you concerned with "letting the daylight into the wood?" Was your philosophy "cut and get out?" Explain your position.

5. Explain what might happen if a lumberjack of the 1880s and a logger of today might meet. What would their views be on the forests of New Hampshire?

6. Look into and report on the early beginnings of the U.S. National Forest Service.

7. Write a composition describing life in New Hampshire without our forests.

8. Tour a paper mill.

9. Describe a law you would like to see in effect regarding the forests of New Hampshire. Check to see if, in fact, such a law exists. Who would benefit from your law? Would your law insure that the forests of New Hampshire would remain our "renewable resource?"

10. Invite a person from the logging industry to speak to the class on current methods of operation.

11. Write to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests in Concord, asking about the goals and objectives of the organization.

12. Write to your local chapter of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, asking for information on this organization.

13. Invite your regional forest agent from Cooperative Extension Service to speak.

14. Write to the White Mountain National Forest Service for information on forestlands.

15. Write a newspaper headline and article describing the woodlands and forests of New Hampshire in the year 2020.

  • renewable
  • logging
  • ecological cycle
  • skidder
  • resource
  • chipper
  • King's Trees
  • debank
  • fireswept
  • loader
  • pulpwood
  • mast
  • Silas Weeks
  • lumberjack
  • King's Agent
  • chopper
  • colonist
  • shipbuilder
  • lumber baron
1620s First settlers landed in New Hampshire; 90% of land covered with trees.
1634 Beginning of New Hampshire's logging industry--the shipment of tall pines to England to be made into masts for the King's Navy.
1840-50 Forests of New Hampshire cleared for farmiand; about 70% of land south of the White Mountains had been cleared.
1850s Movement of settlers west. New forests of white pine grew on the many abandoned farms of New Hampshire.
1880s Logging became a major industry in New Hampshire, especially in the hardwood forests of the North Country. This time was the North Country's greatest and most intense logging era.

The creation of the White Mountains National Forest. The Great Depression brought most business and industry to a standstill, gave New Hampshire's forests a chance to recover from prior treatment.
Present Individuals in the logging industry concerned with the proper and careful management of New Hampshire's woodlands.


© 2002 New Hampshire PBS