I live in a small town that is surrounded by dozens and dozens - in some cases, hundreds - of miles of farmland, farmland that was once forest. There is some forest in places, but it's all second- or third-growth. There are no mostly untouched forests anywhere except in some state and national parks, a long ways away. And they're not truly old-growth, as I understand the term.
There are lots of forest plants which I've read about in foragers' manuals and ecological textbooks but never seen, anywhere. As far as I can determine they do not exist here any longer, even in the nature preserve I visit. The closest thing we have to a wildnerness is the local chain of 'mountains' (fairly biggish hills), one is which is ritually climbed by university students before they graduate, another of which hosts the local ski resort and amusement park.
Invasive, foreign plants are everywhere. Yes, even in the nature preserve. Our roadsides are mainly composed of tartarian honeysuckle and poison hemlock. And garlic mustard, of course.
Anyway, to return to the topic: I'd like to be able to observe nature and design gardening techniques which imitated it, a la Fukuoka or Holzer or whoever. But there doesn't seem to be any nature around for me to observe. Not really. The best I can do is read about Native American agriculture in this region - they seem to have been mimicking the ecological succession of lightning-fire forest clearings, possibly. That's as far as I can get.
Any suggestions, Mr. Wheaton?