A Tale of Two Forests: Addressing Postnuclear Radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima


A Tale of Two Forests: Addressing Postnuclear Radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima

Winifred A. Bird and Jane Braxton Little

Winifred A. Bird is a freelance journalist living in Nagano, Japan. Her work has appeared in the Japan Times, Science, Yale Environment 360, Dwell, and other publications.

Jane Braxton Little writes about science and natural resource issues from California’s Sierra Nevada. Her work has appeared inScientific American, American Forests, the Los Angeles Times, and Audubon, where she is a contributing editor.

A grant from the Society of Environmental Journalists covered the authors’ travel costs.

To report this story, Jane Braxton Little traveled to Chernobyl, and Winifred A. Bird made numerous trips to the Fukushima area. For Little, whose Harvard MA is in Japanese cultural history, it was the Fukushima accident that sparked her interest in how radiation affects ecosystems and led to her first visit to Ukraine. Bird has been living in Japan and writing about natural resource issues since 2005; in July 2011 she reported for EHP on chemical contamination following the Tohoku tsunami and earthquake. Seeing the effects of the accidents firsthand and interviewing residents and cleanup workers on the ground deepened the partners’ understanding of the management issues and the underlying science.