Forest History: Teaching Resources

Multimedia listed here may not necessarily be developed for classroom settings but could be of interest to an array of audiences.


  • Syllabi
  • Lesson Plans
  • Multimedia



The North American Forest: Economy, Ecology, Culture by: R.A. Rajala
The Natural History of the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest by: Leroy Burns
Forest History and Deforestation by: Kurcher
World Forest History by: Nancy Langston
The Ecological History of Vermont by: Andi Lloyd
Seminar in Plant Ecology by: Andi Lloyd
Comparative Forest History by: Mart Stewart

“What Are Forests For: The Place of Ethics in the Forestry Curriculum” by Nicole Klenk and Peter Brown. Subscriber-only article from the Journal of Forestry on how forestry ethics might be integrated in curricula with emphasis on the role of forest history and environmental ethics.


Lesson Plans

Level: All grades, classroom
History of Canada’s Forest Industry

Canadian Forestry Association
Level: All ages, various learning environments
The Boreal Forest

Forests and Oceans for the Future
Level: Secondary school; various learning environments. See each lesson plan for guidelines.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Pennsylvania State Sustainable Forestry Teaching Research Center
Level: Kindergarten to 8th grade, classroom. See each lesson plan for guidelines.
Lesson plans including Canada are labeled as “NA” for North America
Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans


Multimedia: Films & More
“Fighting Fire With Fire”

44 minutes, Color / Stereo, Closed Captioned, Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult, US Release Date: 2007
Directed by Michelle Metivier
Produced by CBC’s “The Nature of Things”

Monster forest fires, big enough to be seen from space and hot enough to create their own weather, used to be a once-in-a-decade nightmare. But now, they’re an everyday summer reality across vast stretches of North America. Authorities in Canada and the United States are bracing for increasing infernos each fire season.
A timely documentary, Fighting Fire with Fire takes audiences onto the fire line and brings them face-to-face with raging fires that are literally unstoppable. This provocative film raises questions about conventional methods of fighting fire, and whether decades of suppressing fire have simply made matters worse. The long-standing lesson taught by Smokey the Bear goes out the window as a new controversial approach to fighting fire is examined.
Fighting Fire with Fire ventures into the forests of Banff National Park, where the park wardens are deliberately setting fires known as “prescribed burns.” They are taking accepted practice (if it’s on fire, put it out), and doing the exact opposite. One goal is to try and prevent bigger, hotter, faster fires; another is to regenerate the land, creating conditions for flora and fauna to thrive. As viewers discover in Fighting Fire with Fire, this little-known phenomenon is working. Experts explain that fire has always been part of our landscape, but forces like global warming and “hit it hard, hit it fast” fire management policies have conspired to create infernal blazes. — Text contributed by Stephanie Miller, Bullfrog Films

“Forbidden Forest”
2004, 69 min 44 s
Directed by Kevin W. Matthews
Produced by Kent Martin and Lloyd Salomone
Production Agency: Timber Colony Inc. and the National Film Board of Canada

This film follows the activities of two very different men concerned about forestry policies on New Brunswick Crown lands. From the film’s website: “Together, they travel to Finland–home of UPM-Kymmene, one of the largest licence holders of New Brunswick Crown lands–to urge company officials to practise responsible forestry. And they go head-to-head with the New Brunswick government in an effort to secure a new, community-based forestry policy–one that is environmentally sustainable and that produces more jobs than the highly capital-intensive, mechanized techniques used today.”

“Alberta: A Centennial Forest History”
King Motion Picture Corporation
To order: please email or phone Lisa O’Neal at 780 424 2950.

This film documents the natural history of Alberta’s forests from their formation 5,000 years ago with the ending of the last ice age to today. The cultural history and significance of these forests, as well as the development of forest industries, wildfire fighting technologies, watershed issues, and current economic issues are all addressed. Sweeping panoramas of all forest types from the boreal to the southeastern hills make this film visually stunning as well as highly informative.



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