Little heralded at the University, but none the less well known in national forestry circles is the Harvard Forest, a 2,300 acre domain in the thickly-wooded town of Peter-sham, 70 miles northwest of Cambridge.
Claiming the longest continued career in silviculture of any similar institution in the land, the Forest has grown from a tract of miscellaneous woodlots and abandoned farmland of 1907, the year it came into the University hands, into a "model forest" and experiment station for demonstrating forestry practices. In addition, the woodland serves as the University's school of forestry for a student body of five.
Only Scratched the Surface
Professed aim of the main research is to develop the best means of producing forest products on a sustained yield basis in central New England. "We've done a good deal of work in offering profitable methods to the profession," Hugh M. Raup, director of the forest, declared, "but of course we're conscious that we've only scratched the surface."
Experts agree that the Forest's most important single asset is its collection of records, which gives complete details of timber cut, man hours spent, and money invested and realized for every operation at the Forest since 1907.
Student life among the Forest's white pines, oaks, ashes, maples, and birches is devoid of all formal class instruction. Instead, the work is carried out on the case method, with the students (candidates for the masters degree in forestry) devoting the major part of their time to projects and theses on specific forestry problems.
Student Body Taxes Facilitation
"Although five may seem a very small number for a student body," Raup stated, "our staff could handle but a few more, since the great emphasis is on individual instruction. Besides we have the big forest to look after, and we must manage the sale of our own timber."
Geographically, the Forest consists of three separate treats completely, surrounding tiny Petersham 900 adres are in a wild-life sanctuary which includes large Harvard Pond and a marsh abounding in aquatic life. This tract is posted for deer, grouse, and pheasants.
One of the terms under which the University instituted the Forest was that it market its own timber to be financially self-supporting.
A recent University step which increases the importance of the Forest is its incorporation in the University Biological Group along with other such institutions as the Arnold Arboretum, the Cabot Foundation, and the Atkins Foundation in Cuba