Beginning with the western foothills, Johnston evokes a vivid picture of the varied plant and animal life encountered as the elevation increases, tops the crest, and drops to the more precipitous, arid eastern Sierra slope. The reader is taken through chaparral and mountain meadows, pine and fir forests, granite expanses and snowy peaks. Johnston writes of the Native Americans' uses and stewardship of the land, the role of fire in forest ecology, the eras of sheep herders and loggers, the work of John Muir and other preservationists, and the battles to save Mono Lake and Lake Tahoe. Her lifetime of field experience and discovery offers intimate observations of rarely recorded events: the courtship of the Sierra Nevada salamander, a wolverine attacking two bears, a fight to the death between a skink and a scorpion.
Many changes have occurred in the Sierra since the first edition of this book was published, including acid snow, tensions involving human and cougar habitats, and an ominous drop in amphibian populations. Johnston documents these events and updates the ecological research in the rich, evocative writing style that makes her book a naturalist's treasure. This is a guide to the Sierra Nevada for the next millennium.
We become Lott's companions in the field as he acquaints us with the social life and physiology of the bison, sharing stories about its impressive physical prowess and fascinating relationships. Describing the entire grassland community in which the bison live, he writes about the wolves, pronghorn, prairie dogs, grizzly bears, and other animals and plants, detailing the interdependent relationships among these inhabitants of a lost landscape. Lott also traces the long and dramatic relationship between the bison and Native Americans, and gives a surprising look at the history of the hide hunts that delivered the coup de grâce to the already dwindling bison population in a few short years.
This book gives us a peek at the rich and unique ways of life that evolved in the heart of America. Lott also dismantles many of the myths we have created about these ways of life, and about the bison in particular, to reveal the animal itself: ruminating, reproducing, and rutting in its full glory. His portrait of the bison ultimately becomes a plea to conserve its wildness and an eloquent meditation on the importance of the wild in our lives.
Since so much of the tallgrass state has been transformed into an agricultural landscape, Mutel focuses on understanding today’s natural environment by understanding yesterday’s changes. After summarizing the geological, archaeological, and ecological features that shaped Iowa’s modern landscape, she recreates the once-wild native communities that existed prior to Euroamerican settlement. Next she examines the dramatic changes that overtook native plant and animal communities as Iowa’s prairies, woodlands, and wetlands were transformed. Finally she presents realistic techniques for restoring native species and ecological processes as well as a broad variety of ways in which Iowans can reconnect with the natural world. Throughout, in addition to the many illustrations commissioned for this book, she offers careful scientific exposition, a strong sense of respect for the land, and encouragement to protect the future by learning from the past.
The “emerald prairie” that “gleamed and shone to the horizon’s edge,” as botanist Thomas Macbride described it in 1895, has vanished. Cornelia Mutel’s passionate dedication to restoring this damaged landscape—and by extension the transformed landscape of the entire Corn Belt—invigorates her blend of natural history and human history. Believing that citizens who are knowledgeable about native species, communities, and ecological processes will better care for them, she gives us hope—and sound suggestions—for the future.
As proud grasslanders know, the prairie is biologically fulfilling, unique, and increasingly rare: biologists from the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy agree that a healthy prairie remains one of the most ecologically diverse and dynamic ecosystems on this planet—as well as one of the rarest left on earth. This landscape that once inspired rapturous exclamations from travelers headed west on horseback now mostly exists in fragments exiled from each other by cropland, cities, and interstate highways.
Historically, tallgrass prairie stretched from Canada to Texas, from central Kansas to Indiana. Now the last major expanse of tallgrass occurs in the Flint Hills, a verdant landscape extending in a north-south strip across eastern Kansas and into northern Oklahoma’s Osage County. In these essays, Gary Lantz brings the beautiful diversity of the prairie home to all of us.
Originally published in 1982, Where the Sky Began, John Madson’s landmark publication, introduced readers across the nation to the wonders of the tallgrass prairie, sparking the current interest in prairie restoration. Now back in print, this classic tome will serve as inspiration to those just learning about the heartland’s native landscape and rekindle the passion of long-time prairie enthusiasts.
Beginning with an overview of how human civilization has altered the face of the Earth, particularly by the destruction of forests, the book details the startling consequences of these actions. Rice provides compelling reasons for government officials, economic leaders, and the public to support efforts to save threatened and endangered plants. Global campaigns to solve environmental problems with plants, such as the development of green roofs and the Green Belt Movement—a women's organization in Kenya that empowers communities worldwide to protect the environment—show readers that efforts to save wild plants can be successful and beneficial to the economic well-being of nations.
Through current scientific evidence, readers see that plants are vital to the ecological health of our planet and understand what can be done to lead to a better—and greener—future
Benefits of plants:Help modulate greenhouse gases Produce almost all oxygen in the air Create cool shade that reduces energy costs Prevent floods, droughts, and soil erosion Produce all of the food in the world Create and preserve soil Create natural habitats Heal the landscape after natural and human disasters
Organized by state within the volume, this work informs readers about the wide variety of natural areas across the Midwest and identifies places near them that demonstrate the importance of preserving such regions.
Based on two decades of audacious research by scientists around the world, the book also provides an unprecedented, evidence-based glimpse into corvids’ intellectual, social, and emotional lives. But whether viewed through the lens of science, myth, or everyday experience, the result is always the same. These birds are so smart—and so mysterious—they take your breath away.
When Candace Savage and her partner buy a house in the romantic little town of Eastend, she has no idea what awaits her. At first she enjoys exploring the area around their new home, including the boyhood haunts of the celebrated American writer Wallace Stegner, the back roads of the Cypress Hills, the dinosaur skeletons at the T.Rex Discovery Centre, the fossils to be found in the dust-dry hills. She also revels in her encounters with the wild inhabitants of this mysterious land-three coyotes in a ditch at night, their eyes glinting in the dark; a deer at the window; a cougar pussy-footing it through a gully a few minutes' walk from town.
But as Savage explores further, she uncovers a darker reality-a story of cruelty and survival set in the still-recent past--and finds that she must reassess the story she grew up with as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of prairie homesteaders.
Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and imbued with Savage's passion for this place, A Geography of Blood offers both a shocking new version of plains history and an unforgettable portrait of the windswept, shining country of the Cypress Hills.
Savage has spent the last 25 years exploring our complex relationships with the natural world: our prejudices, our growing body of scientific knowledge, our awe. She is particularly interested in bridging the gap between mythology and science, between longing and fact. Creating a livable future for ourselves and for other species, she believes, calls for both knowledge and love, and a deep sense of the value of wildness. This book is a record of Savage’s ongoing quest to engage readers in a conversation that enriches our lives and the lives of the animals whose stories she tells.