A wilderness comeback is underway across New England, one that has happened so incrementally that it’s easy to miss.
But step back and the evidence is overwhelming.
Today, 80 percent of New England is covered by forest or thick woods. That is a far cry from the mere 30 to 40 percent that remained forested in most parts of the region in the mid-1800s, after early waves of settlers got done with their vast logging, farming and leveling operations.
According to Harvard research, New England is now the most heavily forested region in the United States — a recovery that the great naturalist Henry David Thoreau once thought impossible.
Meanwhile, some creatures of fur and feather have returned at astonishing speed — herds and flocks where there were just remnant populations; clear evidence of ecosystem revivals occurring over decades or even years, instead of centuries. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Colin Nickerson can be reached at email@example.com.