“They’re called ‘ghost forests,’ so I wanted to bring a ghost forest to raise awareness about this phenomenon,” she added, noting that more than 50 percent of Atlantic white cedars on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard have been lost.
The evergreen trees, found in swamps, help control floodwaters and stream bank erosion, absorb pollution and provide a habitat for animals such as frogs, owls, snakes and birds. In Colonial times, the rot-resistant wood was used to build homes, fences and furniture.
The trees in the installation, which are about 40 feet tall and some of them 80 years old, are from the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey, which is about 100 miles from downtown Manhattan.
Lin’s exhibit also features a soundscape of birds and other animals that used to be commonly seen in Manhattan. (The soundscape can be found at the website madisonsquarepark.org.)
The exhibit in Madison Square Park, in the shadow of the Empire State Building, will be displayed until November 14.