>Axel Lindahl’s picture of Engabreen from 1889 shows the foot of the glacier, where there was only ice, glacial gravel, water and bare mountainsides in a seemingly cold and hostile landscape. Now, more than 120 years later, the valley has become far more fertile. Birch forest, shore meadows, willow thickets and marshland have established themselves, while the glacier arm has retreated far back up the mountainside.
"Imagine a time machine that could take you back 150 years. Open the door and look out at the slopes of Vermont, the Green Mountain State. In 1850, the slopes would be anything but green. Most would be barren, stripped of their trees, and trampled by grazing sheep."
Global changes aside, it takes awhile to form soils that will support plant life. Near the foot of a retreating glacier, you'll always have till and moraines. If they've been recently exposed, they'll always be bare. It takes a few decades for forests, etc to get established.
Deforestation was happening in the 1600s and 1700s and required the stopping of many saw mills.
I just say this because humanity really did horrible environmental things throughout our history. For example the ceders of Lebanon being completly cut down by 800 BC and the deforestation of Israel during the crusades which never came back.
Obviously they're not going to change over a mere 120 years, but the fact that you can see and touch the exact same spot as how many other thousands of people across the generations - that's the really interesting thing.
Every bit of human habitation was surrounded by open areas denuded of trees. It actually looked unpleasant and sterile to see the lack of trees near everything man-made. Roads, fields, home...no trees anywhere in the vicinity.
I theorize that is due to the nearby trees all being used for firewood.
However, trees don't necessarily grow unaided in many of the spots on those pictures. Here's a village I know: http://www.winnem.com/Assets/images/frambergkirkesaether.gif shows lots of trees, a century ago there were none there. They were planted in a big campaign around 1950-1970, in places where no tree could grow alone but a dozen together might grow up and shelter each other if tended a bit. All the schoolchildren planted and tended trees.
What would it take to get pixel perfect alignment in a big image like this? For starters, you'd have to figure out the exact lens and zoom level, and get to precisely the right spot...
But theoretically this could be corrected further using software. If you correct one picture manually, and used the same distortion as a reference for other pictures. Maybe...
No idea if there is software like this anywhere.
All the pictures would need to have been taken with the same old camera, though, which I think is not the case here.
Cleaning up the crop/zoom in photoshop does not help you unless you are shooting from the exact same spot to get the same perspective.