A new source of data on early postsettlement woodlands, witness trees in woodlot subdivision surveys, is described. Subdivision surveys of Thorn Grove, Will County, Illinois (1848–1856), using 92 witness trees, are compared to the presettlement 1834 Public Land Survey (PLS) including the same area. The woodland described in the subdivision surveys was richer in species, lower in density and composed of smaller trees than the woodland described in the PLS. Decreased density and tree size suggest beginning deforestation, but surveyor bias is a possibility.
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Vol. 147 • No. 2