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Longleaf forests once covered 92 million acres from Texas to Maryland to Florida. These grand old-growth pines were the "alpha tree" of the largest forest ecosystem in North America and have come to define the southern forest. But logging, suppression of fire, destruction by landowners, and a complex web of other factors reduced those forests so that longleaf is now found only on 3 million acres. Fortunately, the stately tree is enjoying a resurgence of interest, and longleaf forests are once again spreading across the South. Blending a compelling narrative by writers Bill Finch, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall with Beth Maynor Young's breathtaking photography, Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See invites readers to experience the astounding beauty and significance of the majestic longleaf ecosystem. The authors explore the interactions of longleaf with other species, the development of longleaf forests prior to human contact, and the influence of the longleaf on southern culture, as well as ongoing efforts to restore these forests. Part natural history, part conservation advocacy, and part cultural exploration, this book highlights the special nature of longleaf forests and proposes ways to conserve and expand them.
Covering 92 million acres from Virginia to Texas, the longleaf pine ecosystem was, in its prime, one of the most extensive and biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. Today these magnificent forests have declined to a fraction of their original extent, threatening such species as the gopher tortoise, the red-cockaded woodpecker, and the Venus fly-trap. Lawrence S. Earley explores the history of these forests and the astonishing biodiversity within them, drawing on extensive research and telling the story through first-person travel accounts and interviews with foresters, ecologists, biologists, botanists, and landowners. The compelling story Earley tells here offers hope that with continued human commitment, the longleaf pine might not just survive, but once again thrive.
Fire can be a destructive, deadly element of nature, capable of obliterating forests, destroying homes, and taking lives. Den Latham’s Painting the Landscape with Fire describes this phenomenon but also tells a different story, one that reveals the role of fire ecology in healthy, dynamic forests. Fire is a beneficial element which allows the longleaf forests of America’s Southeast to survive. In recent decades, foresters and landowners have become intensely aware of the need to “put enough fire on the ground” to preserve longleaf habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers, quail, wild turkeys, and a host of other plants and animals. Painting the Landscape with Fire is a hands-on-primer for those who want to understand the role of fire in longleaf forests. Latham joins wildlife biologists, foresters, wildfire fighters, and others as they band and translocate endangered birds, survey snake populations, improve wildlife habitat, and conduct prescribed burns on public and private lands. Painting the Landscape with Fire explores the unique southern biosphere of longleaf forests. Throughout, Latham beautifully tells the story of the resilience of these woodlands and of the resourcefulness of those who work to see them thrive. Fire is destructive in the case of accidents, arson, or poor policy, but with the right precautions and safety measures, it is the glowing life force that these forests need.
Table of Contents for Volume 53, Number 3 (Fall 2013) COVER ART The View from Huayna Picchu Carl A. Reese Introduction to Southeastern Geographer, Volume 53, Number 3 David M. Cochran and Carl A. Reese PART I: PAPERS High Temporal Resolution Land Use/ Land Cover Change from 1984 to 2010 of the Little River Watershed, Tennessee, Investigated Using Landsat and Google Earth Images Chunhao Zhu and Yingkui Li Look Away, Look Away, Look Away to Lexington: Struggles over Neo-Confederate Nationalism, Memory, and Masculinity in a Small Virginia Town Jon D. Bohland Web-Based Geospatial Technology Tools for Metropolitan Planning Organizations Rakesh Malhotra, Gurmeet Virk, Felix Nwoko, and Amanda Klepper Spatial and Temporal Patterns of an Ethnic Economy in a Suburban Landscape of the Nuevo South Nancy Hoalst-Pullen, Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, Harold R. Trendell, and Mark W. Patterson Toward a Publicly Engaged Geography: Polycentric and Iterated Research Jennifer F. Brewer PART II: REVIEWS Longleaf, Far as the Eye Can See: A New Vision of North America's Richest Forest Bill Finch, Beth Maynor Young, Rhett Johnson, and John C. Hall Reviewed by Grant L. Harley The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South Andrew W. Kahrl Reviewed by Heather Ward
Now forty years old, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) remains a landmark act in conservation and one of the world’s most comprehensive laws designed to prevent species extinctions and support recovery efforts for imperiled species. A controversial law and often subject to political attack, the ESA is successful overall but not without difficulties. Those who enforce the ESA, for example, struggle to achieve viable recovery goals for many species. At the forefront of challenges is a reactive framework that sometimes leads to perverse incentives and legal battles that strain support and resources. Further, few species have been delisted. Proactive Strategies for Protecting Species explores the perspectives, opportunities, and challenges around designing and implementing pre-listing programs and approaches to species conservation. This volume brings together conservation biologists, economists, private and government stakeholders, and others to create a legal, scientific, sociological, financial, and technological foundation for designing solutions that incentivize conservation action for hundreds of at-risk species—prior to their potential listing under the ESA. This forward-thinking, innovative volume provides a roadmap for designing species conservation programs on the ground so they are effective and take place upstream of regulation, which will contribute to a reduction in lawsuits and other expenses that arise after a species is listed. Proactive Strategies for Species Protection is a guidebook for anyone anywhere interested in designing programs that incentivize environmental stewardship and species conservation.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Birmingham is building again on its natural resources, but this time it’s not to fire steel-making smokestacks. Instead, where railroads ran and mines once burrowed into mountains, the healed landscape is being repurposed for hiking and biking. New and expanding venues around the city are providing more opportunities not only to get outside and exercise but also to appreciate the labor and industry that built the city. In Five-Star Trails: Birmingham local author Thomas Spencer leads readers to some of the best hikes around the city. Within a short drive from Birmingham, you can find yourself on an Appalachian mountain peak or on the banks of the Cahaba River as it broadens to snake through the Coastal Plain. You can visit old growth forest in the Sipsey Wilderness or hike down into the “Grand Canyon of the East” at Little River Canyon. And that's only the start. Across this landscape, you’ll find a level of diversity of plant and animal species, some rare and endangered, that rivals anywhere in the North America.
Forgotten Grasslands of the South is a literary and scientific case study of some of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. Eminent ecologist Reed Noss tells the story of how southern grasslands arose and persisted over time and addresses questions that are fundamental for conserving these vital yet poorly understood ecosystems. The author examines: the natural history of southern grasslands their origin and history (geologic, vegetation, and human) biological hotspots and endangered ecosystems physical determinants of grassland distribution, including ecology, soils, landform, and hydrology fire, herbivores, and ecological interactions. The final chapter presents a general conservation strategy for southern grasslands, including prioritization, protection, restoration, and management. Also included are examples of ongoing restoration projects, along with a prognosis for the future. In addition to offering fascinating new information about these little-studied ecosystems, Noss demonstrates how natural history is central to the practice of conservation. Natural history has been on a declining trajectory for decades, as theory and experimentation have dominated the field of ecology. Ecologists are coming to realize that these divergent approaches are in fact complementary, and that pursuing them together can bring greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works and how we can best conserve it. Forgotten Grasslands of the South explores the overarching importance of ecological processes in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and is the first book of its kind to apply natural history, in a modern, comprehensive sense, to the conservation of biodiversity across a broad region. It sets a new standard for scientific literature and is essential reading not only for those who study and work to conserve the grasslands of the South but also for everyone who is fascinated by the natural world.

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