The forest history research focus on the changing relationships between humans and forests and forest ecosystems over time and also people's specific use of the forest resource from an historical perspective.
It includes the reconstruction of past interactions between people and forest ecosystems, and the interpretation of the long-term trends in human impact on the forest. The research focus on different ethnic groups, over different time perspectives and can be on a local or regional scale.
The fundamental processes which are of particular interest to the research include: deforestation, reforestation, shifts in vegetation patterns, ecosystem transformation (species composition, stand structure, landscape structure) and the relationship between individuals or groups of people and forest ecosystems. Several retrospective methods are practiced; dendrochronology, pollen-analysis and interpretation of historical records.