Today the New England landscape is covered with forest. You can see this from any high point, or the window of an airplane. It is hard to imagine that the trees you see from this hill were not here 150 years ago. Then 50 to 80 percent of the land was cleared for pasture, hayfield, crop fields, orchards and buildings. No one alive today has seen that open landscape. We can only know it through historic images and written descriptions.The Past: A Different ProspectThis painting, by an anonymous artist, shows how the view from this hill might have looked between 1830 and 1880. Agriculture was the main occupation in rural towns. Farmers cut the forest trees to create the pastures, hayfields, and crop lands needed for their work. They harvested trees for use as fuel, building lumber, and fencing. Hundreds of small shops and large factories used the wood to manufacture furniture, tools, barrels, baskets, wagons, and many other items.