We encourage discussions of forest biology in general and our work in particular.  Please complete the Leave a Comment box below and click Post Comment button when done.  We will post comments and discussions after review.

The Northern Forest Atlas will be best used if people served add to the body of knowlege presented and help make this a “living document.”  Jerry Jenkins and his team, who made this work possible, have invested more than 100 man-years of field research, photography and graphics using high levels of camera and computer technology.  We hope all those who use and enjoy this work will help spread its use.  The Northern Forest, from the maritime provinces of Canada and shores of Maine to the prairie edge in western Minnesota and Manitoba, is an essential asset of our planet.  This work may help everyone understand the Northern Forest’s value, leading to it’s conservation and protection during coming years of change.

Margot Paul Ernst
October 10, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Naturally I perused the moss first. It is beyond awesome and I could spend days going deeper into what you have already. I am blown away, photos, diagrams, descriptions, exquisitie drawings etc. I am finding a ton of Pleurozium schreberi taking over open forest edges this year. Maybe because the dry spell has made them proliferate. BRAVO to the team!

Sarah Stehn
November 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Yes, these moss maps, charts, and photo mosaics are incredible. To see the ecological habitats of bryophytes diagrammed in a way commonly (though rarely as beautifully) done for the “higher” plants is a dream! Thank you for making them available to those outside of your region, as a tool to grow appreciation for these important organisms if nothing else. Looking forward to purchasing a few products once they become available.

Gus Goodwin
November 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

Beautiful! This is truly outstanding and I can’t wait to see what appears next. I’m also eagerly awaiting the opportunity to purchase posters and field charts. Congrats on all the tremendous work!

Brett Engstrom
December 20, 2016 at 9:36 am

Jerry: just searched for Carex backii in Images page. Results including one image of C. appalachica in with the numerous, and wonderful, backii images. How did that happen? I think the search algorithms may be on to something, because the two are often in association in the wilds.

Also, should there be plants in habitat photos with the portraits? Perhaps for future.


Jerry Jenkins
December 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Brett, who knows the mysteries of search engines. Or, for that matter, how many different ways there are that I can mis-tag images. And yes, we want habitat photos, and photos of whole plants. They are harder to get, I have to be there and can’t just send to hunting for stuff, and the light has to be right and the wind not blowing. Sedges wave their leaves something wicked with just a whisper of a breeze. But we will get there. Glad you enjoyed your backii.


Genevieve Griffith
January 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm

The charts are amazing. I want them all..patiently waiting for availability. In the meantime , I’m exploring your site! Thanks so much for all of it! I am a glutton for knowledge so this is a treat.

Jerry Jenkins
January 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Hi Genevieve, and thank you for your encouragement. Charts should be printed and available in late winter. It’s a lot of work, but satisfying work. The company of plants, and encouragement from people like yourself, makes it worthwhile.


Sherrie Moyer
January 25, 2017 at 6:21 am

The attention to detail is evidenced in your amazing work! I thoroughly enjoyed this site and look forward to your posters.

Larry Daloz
October 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm

The first girl I ever kissed–over sixty years ago, mind you–responded by saying, “What can I say but ‘Wow!’?” Those words are what came to mind when I saw your image of Bartramia. I have been taking macrophotos of mosses and lichens for the past ten years, primarily for their dazzling beauty. In fact, I have my first formal show coming up in November. But these of yours are utterly staggering, to say nothing of the videos. Please place me on your list for when your next work comes out.

Meanwhile, hooray for your piece in Northern Woodlands–especially for your wry and realistic commentary….

Pete Adans
April 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

Delightful insights on a difficult subject, Jerry. Likely you will have more to say about the role of self pruning as a factor affecting mature canopy form. I used to think that the major factor at work must be mortality due to lack of success in the competition for light, ongoing between various elements of a given tree (and its neighbors if these are present). I still think that’s happening, but the distinctly various forms that diffrent tree species display suggest to me that there is an ongoing sculpting program that helps deternine at what point a branch is scheduked for death. The great reduction in number of the nearly vertically ascending branches of an open growth sugar maple between its teen and middle years I’m thinking is partly species specific, likely through the action of a unique suite of hormonal modulators.
I have done some quick and dirty mesurements of tree stems immediately below the annual whorl of banches at the same time getting measurements of those branches. For the several species I measured the sum of the crossectional areas of the branches fairly closely equalled the crossectional area of the subtending stem. I’m pretty sure that the proportion rule given me by a highschool art teacher, that the sum of branch diameters equals the diameter of the associated stem, is often not true.
An allied observation seems to be that stem diameters between major branch points remain roughly constant, giving a form parallel in outline. This line of thinking was set on its fanny as universal law when, this winter, I happened to notice a ginkgo whose trunk was decidedly conical in form. I am strictly an amateur in these matters but will be following with keen and delighted interest further developments on your website. Warm thanks for it.

Bruce Harro
October 16, 2018 at 9:28 am

I’ve been walking in a golf course in northern Illinois for several years, and one advantage is that often the trees are separate from each other, making the mature shape uninhibited by competing trees. I noticed two maples today that have a shape more like a Lombardy poplar, although the narrowness is not as severe. I usually think of maples as having lower branches perpendicular to the trunk, and these were quite different. Being a golf course, the trees are often not native and are chosen for other reasons. Do you know what maple species or cultivar would have this shape?

Lisa Hackett
March 18, 2019 at 8:59 pm

What a wonderful resource for anyone interested the flora and fauna of our northern forests. Great photos too. My suggestion for an improvement would be to be able to scroll through the plants rather than having to click on each species then return to the list and start over again. A “next” or an arrow, leading to the next set would be such a helpful learning tool and very convenient for the user. Thanks.

July 4, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Thank you Lisa. We will look at your suggestion and see if we can do it within our database. The print volumes are organized that way, but the digital databases are more difficult to arrange that way. Thanks for writing. Ed

August 11, 2019 at 3:05 pm


We are making the Digital Atlases available for download on the website and once they are downloaded to your computer, you will be able to search though the PDFs from page to page without going back to a table of contents. The Sedge DA is available now for download and Woodies and Mosses will be available in December.


Marianna Holzer
April 6, 2019 at 10:32 am

I have such great memories of learning about plants (and identifying birds), as Jerry and I often walked through the woods together way back in the early 1970s. I’m a hand bookbinder in Northern VT now. I just restored a copy of Eaton’s Ferns and when I asked my customer if he knew Jerry Jenkins, he steered me to this website. I’m really looking forward to exploring this site more, seeing the wonderful photos and supporting the great work you all are doing. Thank you,

July 4, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Marianna, I will pass on your comment to Jerry. Ed

August 20, 2019 at 7:48 am

Hi! I was out paddling this weekend and am curious what the explanation is regarding the dead branches just above the surface of the lake, forming a green growth line about 6-7 feet above, and perfectly parallel to, the water. I imagine somebody has published a paper explaining this phenomenon. Any input is much appreciated! Note I found one write up dating from the 1880s proclaiming its from the deer and another article from the 1920s saying nope, ain’t the deer! Thanks!! Bill

August 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Hi Bill, we think of it as the deer browse line. Ed

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