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

Brad Williamson
December 30, 2019 at 11:20 am

Even though I’m in KS I find the clarity and organization of these charts to be pretty amazing. As 40+ year retired biology teacher, I’m wondering how I would have used these charts in my classroom. I’m currently trying to teach myself bryophyte id for mosses here in KS. While there are not a lot of mosses in common your organization is really helping. I noticed that the link to the pdf for the Acrocarp diagram (Moss Genera of the Northern Forest – Acrocarps, BP-63) actually brings up the Pleurocarps. Just thought you’d want to know. (I’ve tried editing the link from my end, to no avail) Inspiring work.


January 8, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Hi Brad, I’ll fix the Acrocarps/Pluerocarps shortly. We are thinking the same as you have concluded. Sedges and Mosses will have a more universal application, and Woodies, less so.


January 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Hi Bill,

I fixed the pdf link for BP-63. You now should be able to download the Acrocarp pdf. Thanks for alerting us. Ed

Gayle Weber
February 15, 2020 at 10:47 pm

Fantastic entry on Tree Branches. To me this is really the key to tree id but I’ve never seen the concepts broken out and explained before. Please write some more! Thanks!

John Davis
February 26, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Jerry, Ed, Larry, Brett, Sue, any or all of you NFAP friends: May Rewilding Earth run a photo or two from your atlas in our upcoming print anthology, to promote Northern Forest Atlas Project? We ran a profile for NFAP some months back in Rewilding Earth on-line (, and wish to run basically the same short article (drawn and adapted with previous permission from your website) in our annual best-of anthology? Our goal is to promote your good work and greater appreciation of the Northern Forest in general.
Many thanks
John Davis, Rewilding Earth editor

March 31, 2020 at 9:13 am

Hi John,

Sorry for the delay, as corona has us working on other things. Yes, please run a photo or two as you suggest,


Devon Cummings
March 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Thank you for your generosity in allowing free downloads of your work. The photographs and information are outstanding.

April 14, 2020 at 1:54 pm

I hope that this finds you, and those close to you well during these challenging times.
While there are many well-respected resources available related to the work you do, it goes without saying, the work of the Northern Forest Atlas Project “stands alone, and at the top…” The deep scientific and technological knowledge, along with an incredibly dedicated team, and some generous funding have obviously combined forces to make this possible.
I teach dendrology to forestry and wildlife biology students at the university level, and can’t begin to tell you how all of us have greatly benefited from your incredible work. We can’t thank you enough for making it so widely available to us, and others!
In addition, I had the good fortune to join Jerry last fall at the Northern Woodlands Conference in Vermont and spend some time in the forest with him and others. It was an experience that I look forward to repeating.
Keep up the good work, it’s greatly appreciated!

Sarah Cooper-Ellis
June 1, 2020 at 6:01 pm

I am late to the party, since in the last ? years Jerry has seen his way to revolutionize the approach to recognizing bryophyte key characters and group assortment.
Wow. Now regular people may find courage to tackle these tiny plants. So refreshing!

Robert W Shaw
July 10, 2020 at 3:26 pm

I briefly encountered Jerry Jenkins in boarding school and college. There he was regarded as a prodigy and one who walked his own way. I wish I had gotten to know him but was too focused on my studies. Now, nearly a lifetime later, I see that he found a worthy subject for his remarkable intelligence and determination – those jewel-like photographs backed by great experience and erudition. So few of us will leave such a legacy

Jason Hollinger
September 15, 2020 at 11:37 am

Amazing project! I respect and applaud your decision to make all of your work free. Not only your work, but also sharing so generously of your experience and techniques, too. You have established a whole new level of achievement!

Robert Long
October 5, 2020 at 9:59 pm

Thank you very much for making all of this work so available. You are a terrific botanist and naturalist. As a recent retiree I now have time to pursue many interests that I did not have time to pursue previously. I have the moss book and charts, but got more interested in the sedges this summer. I have the sedge book and will get the charts too. I did print your two sedge lessons and they are quite valuable and I’ve learned some of the common ones–lots of looking an keying. Do you have plans for any other sedge lessons? Again, thank you so much. This is a wonderful project and you have made a great contribution in inspiring people to love plants and the places where plants live. Great work!

October 26, 2020 at 2:51 am

Where do I find “A diagrammatic guide to laboratory identification (The Northeastern Mosses: A Graphical Guide) for download on your website?


October 26, 2020 at 7:07 pm

You may wish to download the Moss Digital Atlas from: Products, Digital Atlases, or you can look under Graphics for Download for other download charts. You will also find an enormous amount of moss identification information under Articles, Moss Lessons 1-6. Ed

Matthew Ireland
October 28, 2020 at 11:51 am

Fantastic photography, incredible ecological details, and so many formats to choose from! Thanks for sharing access to this amazing information. Please keep making books/guides so that I can keep buying them!

November 30, 2020 at 11:30 am

Have been trying to download the pdf digital copies of the pictures from the book HEDGES OF THE NORTHERN FORES which I have purchased. I have had no success… seems to get about three-quarters of the way then gives me an error notice. Can you think of a reason why? Thank you. Dale

November 30, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Hi Dale, Are you trying to download the Sedge Digital Atlas? Your email is not specific. Downloading the Digital Atlases are huge files, and it may be that 1., you have insufficient memory, 2. Your computer is timing out for some reason due to the length of time download is taking. 3. you have a slow computer, or some combination of all the above. If you give me more specific information, I may be able to help you. Ed

Brent Turcotte
January 26, 2021 at 10:46 pm

I don’t see it happening with the North Forest Atlas initiative, but I believe lichens would benefit greatly from the approach you have taken with your photographic guides. Off season and winter can be dull but lichens are always there yet there is no good comprehensive guide to lichens for this area.

January 27, 2021 at 11:51 am

Hi Brent, We prioritized Woody Plants, Sedges, Mosses and Grasses, with Lichens to be a fifth focus. Alas, we have devoted 9 years (so far) to this project, and it will take at least 3 or 4 more to complete the Photographic Guides, Digital Atlases, and Field Guides for all of these. We are all getting old, and this work is immensely difficult, so the odds are high we may not complete lichens. But they are still on the list. Ed

Brent Turcotte
March 5, 2021 at 10:09 am

I highly appreciate all the work you guys have put into making all these guides. Making ground breaking field guides is indeed hard work, they are impressive achievements. It would be great if you made it to lichens, but would be understanding if you didn’t. It has been my observation that many of the best field guide or ground-breaking ones take more than ten years to produce (i.e Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area, Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America) and you will have done four (in a variety of formats) in the same amount of time. In any case, I am learning lichens in my own way (using iNaturalist and other websites), and getting significantly beyond my copy of “Lichens of the North Woods”.

As a note, I already have your three photographic guides and will purchase the grass guide when it comes out. Cheers

March 5, 2021 at 10:25 am

Thanks Brent, Jerry is hard at work on the Grass publications at the moment. You are correct as to the amount of work compressed into a small amount of time (9 years). Jerry probably has 2 or 3 more years of mental fatigue left to finish the Field Guides and a book on Ecology. If there is mental capacity left, lichens may get done.

Kirsten Trost
February 1, 2021 at 9:34 am

I found Northern Forest Atlas listed under Amazon Smile which I would like to suggest you include and made known on your website donation page. It is easy and free for Amazon customers to go to Amazon Smile, choose Northern Forest Atlas, and for no additional out of pocket, a percentage of certain sales are donated to your 501(c)3. Northern Forest Atlas’ superior photography and depth of information forward connectivity and education with our forest. Not a more important time than now (!) for all to benefit from and keep going for years to come. Perhaps this is a small way to additionally support this incredible research and education you offer.
Personally, I have gained a much more intimate and aware relationship in the forest around me with the clarity, conciseness and ease the photos bring to identification and observing. The forest has become the most awe inspiring wonderland and I am in advanced stages of moss obsession. Sending you a forest of thanks for giving and sharing your years of knowledge and gifts.

Stephen Smith
February 6, 2021 at 10:48 am

Beautiful site. I noted a small mistake in the woody plant guide. Prickly ash isn’t Zanthozylon.

March 10, 2021 at 6:57 pm

Jerry recommends putting the atlases on an iPad. Does anyone recommend a particular iPad ie. pro vs. mini or other permutations for this use?

March 10, 2021 at 8:09 pm

Digital Atlases are huge files. You want a fast processor and much memory . Suggest you download the DA files to your computer first and then “get Info” on the file size to see what you need. The faster the computer, the better the DA’s will perform for you. You also want a larger screen size for better viewing. Ed

May 1, 2021 at 8:38 am

I was unable to download the digital atlas on moss. Any suggestions?

May 1, 2021 at 3:44 pm

Hi Gillian, I had the same result you did. No download. We will investigate and solve. Ed

May 16, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Hi Gillian, your comment caused us to move our hosting. We are now Cloudflare based and there will be a server close to you. You should also see faster access to the website. Please remember these downloads are huge files, and take time to Download to a computer. Depending on your download speed, it can take hours. Mine took 25 minutes in a city with fast internet. If you are looking to transfer a Digital Atlas to an iPad, look on the “Sedges of the Northern Forest Digital Atlas” info page and scroll down under “Comments” for instructions. You will see the instructions for transferring your computer download file to an iPad, under “Admin”, July 1, 2020.

May 16, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Hi Gillian, your comment caused us to move our hosting. We are now Cloudflare based and there will be a server close to you. You should also see faster access to the website. Please remember these downloads are huge files, and take time to Download to a computer. Depending on your download speed, it can take hours. Mine took 25 minutes in a city with fast internet. If you are looking to transfer a Digital Atlas to an iPad, look on the “Sedges of the Northern Forest Digital Atlas” info page and scroll down under “Comments” for instructions. You will see the instructions for transferring your computer download file to an iPad, under “Admin”, July 1, 2020.

John gallop
July 23, 2021 at 8:07 pm

Any chance you can come to NS to teach a moss course?

Kathrine Neils
July 28, 2021 at 6:50 pm

I just discovered your Foundation and work and am so impressed and excited. And SO grateful that you are making this important knowledge available to others and at such a reasonable cost. I see the love and care in all of it, and I thank you sincerely.

Jessica Bryzek
November 1, 2021 at 9:17 pm

These are absolutly stunning and amazing. Will be very useful as I am preparing for my graduate field research on woody vegetation. Thank you.

Nicole Dowzansky
January 23, 2022 at 1:12 am

I’m a Park Ranger and VERY interested in ordering any and all of your wall charts for our education centre. I see the PDF, but I am unable to print them myself. When will they be available for purchase? Could you please email me?
Thank you kindly.

June 23, 2022 at 6:21 pm

Nicole, please pardon the delay but I was in the hospital for a long stay. The wall charts can be ordered from Amazon or Cornell University Press (Comstock Press) online.

February 7, 2023 at 1:50 pm


I missed your question from last year, our apologies. The simple answer is: take the file you wish to have a copy of, to a graphics printer that prints large charts. Ed

Keir Wefferling
March 2, 2022 at 10:17 pm

Hi, I’m trying to find a Graphic Guide to Northeastern Mosses (Jerry Jenkins, 2008, Northern Forest Atlas), but can’t find it anywhere. I see that Troy, above, was also looking for this text (October 26th, 2020).

I’m taking a workshop with Jerry this Summer (!!), and would really like to get this as it is among the recommended texts to bring.

July 8, 2022 at 8:38 am

This is most definitely too late of a reply and I’m hoping you found what you need but I just bought the book this week up at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley NY in the ADKs.

Sarah Cooper-Ellis
June 23, 2022 at 11:57 am

APB mossers needed for a bio blitz project on new Putney Mt land acquisition, Hinton tract. Out of my depth and paddling hard with the aid of Jerry’s Photographic guide and very rusty skills.
Saturday June 25 meet at Putney Mt trailhead 10 am.

July 8, 2022 at 8:40 am


I recently purchased your book, Mosses of the Northern Forest, during a visit to Keene Valley. I live in an interesting ecological spot, just outside of the Lebanon Valley/Shaker Swamp region and directly across from a different conservation area. I’ve been documented macro nature images for 5+ years now, proposed and launched a photo show and club at the Columbia Land Conservancy in Columbia County, and am looking for an opportunity to continue to contribute my work in a way that will promote more exploration, knowledge, and ultimately preservation of our wild and crazy and beautiful earth. If you’re interested in seeing any of my images, you can check out (my jewelry and photo site, not a great source of my macros, more of a general art page because people always ask me for one) but I can also send you a folder of other images that never make it beyond my hard drive. Note: I capture my images in raw, edit for slight adjustments in Lightroom, but do not manipulate my images in photoshop, etc. I treat them like documentary photos, and try to keep them as true as I found them. Would love to contribute if the need or interest is there! You can find me on LinkedIn as well. It’s the only social media I use. Let me know if/how i can help. Take care!

July 13, 2022 at 1:28 pm

We have completed nearly all of our field photography and know the few things we are missing and where to find them (very rare items). Thank you for your offer, but I think we have what we need. Ed

December 6, 2022 at 2:51 pm

Thank you for future use of your photo library. We will keep you in mind. We are still working with, updating and taking new photos this year and next, so will not know what we need until next year. We appreciate your offer. Ed

Diane Porter
February 17, 2023 at 12:37 pm

Your site is a godsend, and I am grateful. I will be studying it for a long time. But I can’t find everything. In Moss Lesson 4, you write, “The Contents below are not hot-linked, but the file is bookmarked. If you open the bookmark tab in your reader, you can jump to any section or species.” Can you give me the link to those tabs? I don’t see them. Many thanks.

Diane Porter
February 17, 2023 at 12:39 pm

Well, I found them (see previous comment), so never mind. End of the same chapter.

Michael Knauf
February 20, 2023 at 8:09 pm

I have followed this project for the past couple of years, or at least thought I was. I only recently understood the full extent of it. Jerry’s work and insight is some the best I’ve come across in trying to understand the natural world, and Ed’s videography and narration captured my interest immediately. I’m greatly indebted to you all for the wonderful work you’ve done and for inspiring me to learn more. Please continue to do so, and if you can, continue to grow your cause.

Thanks again,

Annie D'Alton
June 27, 2023 at 9:30 am

Word is getting out about these wonderful resources! I found a broken link on the site:
Page not found:,%20Map%202.pdf
I tried to submit this info via the Contact Us button, but the form was not sent.

November 12, 2023 at 4:19 pm

Hi Annie, I’m doing an update on the NFA site this week and will fix the missing link. Thanks for pointing that one out to us. Ed

January 15, 2024 at 2:02 pm

Annie, I think this is fixed, but let me know if you still see and error. Ed

July 3, 2023 at 10:53 am

I am very much a beginner to moss identification and am doing it simply as a hobby, as I’ve always been drawn to mosses since I was a young child growing up in northern Vermont. I purchased Mosses of the Northern Forest: A Photographic Guide and am finding it very informative and helpful. I also have a microscope to assist in identification. In the book’s introduction on page 1, there is a statement, “A diagrammatic guide to laboratory identification (The Northeastern Mosses: A Graphical Guide) is available for download on our website.” However, I am not able to find where on the website this guide is located. If someone could asssist me in locating this guide, it would be most appreciated.

November 12, 2023 at 4:23 pm

Hi Heather. The link you may may be looking for is the Moss Digital Atlas, here:
Sorry it took so long to reply, but we were in out summer work mode. Ed

July 16, 2023 at 1:32 pm

The photographic guides have become favourites among field staff at my workplace in NS. We would love to see one for ferns!

marc-andré Gingras
September 6, 2023 at 9:44 pm

Hi , I am new to the study of moss but moss has always deeply soothed my spirit at the very sight and feel. Your art and resources section will allow me to appreciate it even more. If I were to make it my personal (very long-term) objective to build a case for, and sensitize people to consider moss in Canadian urban areas as an alternative to grass (no more mowing etc. )and you have a few pointers please feel free to reach out to me. Where could I find resources on finding the best type of moss for that environment and resistance to high human trafic (walking in back yard, kids playing etc.) thanks

Kelly Kearns
October 23, 2023 at 9:49 am

I just found out about your website – wow! What an incredible amount of work you have put into this, and what a resource. I am slowly working on learning sedges and bryophytes, so your guides will be very helpful. Thank you for your efforts.

November 12, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Hi Kelly. Jerry and volunteers have been working for 12 years to make this happen. It is a huge undertaking, and requires lots of effort. Ed

December 10, 2023 at 9:43 pm

Will you be offering any of the boreal woody plant ID courses in 2024?

Any information you have would be great

December 21, 2023 at 5:37 pm

“Iffy”, but there is a possibility. ed

Chris S
January 4, 2024 at 11:47 am

I just stumbled upon your site and it is GORGEOUS! Finally I can see in the detail necessary to find the differences. So gorgeous, did I say that already? Thank-you so much! I will be ordering some products via Cornell and sharing your site with some WNY native plant lovers.

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