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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highlighting the Hidden Forest: Luoma as Virgil to Our Dante
Luoma takes the reader on an intimate, guided tour with some of the tenacious pioneers of forested ecosystems research and the mysterious processes whereby the woods become established, grow and change--in the case of the moist coastal uplands of western Oregon, processes that take centuries to complete all their steps. For those who like their science in the field, in...
Published on June 27, 2000 by Charles Barr

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contains factual errors
On the one hand, I enjoyed this book because there are some interesting insights into the science and history of forest ecology. On the other hand, there are some factual errors that cause me to worry as to the accuracy of the rest of the book.

For instance, the author states that monarch butterflies obtain their distastefulness to predators by consuming...
Published on July 17, 2011 by K. Jones


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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highlighting the Hidden Forest: Luoma as Virgil to Our Dante, June 27, 2000
Luoma takes the reader on an intimate, guided tour with some of the tenacious pioneers of forested ecosystems research and the mysterious processes whereby the woods become established, grow and change--in the case of the moist coastal uplands of western Oregon, processes that take centuries to complete all their steps. For those who like their science in the field, in the raw, and introduced by the human practitioners struggling (and loving) the dance of theory and experiment, this is a must-have. Ancient Forests rhetoric too frequently airbrushes over the hard scientific inquiry that helped reveal both the uniqueness of the Oregon forested ecosystems research site and yet suggests that some of these hidden processes, or ones similar, will be found to play crucial roles in other forest places as well. If Luoma doesn't beat me to it, I could do worse than spend the rest of my career writing a series for all the Long-Term Ecological Research stations that perform the valuable work of building baselines and foundations in ecology for every major ecological region. At least, this is the sort of book that makes a reader feel that way!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ought to be required reading., June 13, 2007
By 
J. Branson (Seahurst, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem (Paperback)
Not only was The Hidden Forest a pleasure to read, but Jon Luoma told me so many things I didn't know. I thought I knew a great deal about forests, since I live next to a park, hike in the mountains, and have read many books about trees, but this book showed me that there really is a hidden forest right under my nose that I'd been mostly unaware of. Now, as I walk the trail through the woods, I think of the 16,000 tiny insects beneath my foot every time I take a step, and I think of the vital work they do that supports all life on Earth.

Policy decisions are being made every day--just recently the Bush administration announced plans to increase logging of old growth forests--in a political and economic climate in which most people are ignorant of the science of forest ecosystems. How can we possibly make the right choices if people are not properly informed? For example, many people have bought into the notion that protecting old growth hurts the economy and costs jobs. In fact, the losses in the salmon industry, billions of dollars, could have been prevented if old growth forests had been protected. Also, millions if not billions of dollars of damage caused by flooding in Washington and Oregon could have been avoided if the Forest Service had followed the advice of the scientists at the Andrews Experimental Forest.

Still, these scientists haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what we need to know about forest ecosystems. They haven't even identified half of the species that live in our forests. How can we know the value of what we are losing if we don't even understand what it is or how it works? Their work should be funded at a much higher level. (Check out their web site: [...] )

While this book is not for everyone, it should be read by the following people:

--Policy makers in the Forest Service.

--Everyone in the Bush administration.

--People who vote.

--People who live in wood houses or use paper products.

--People who enjoy clean water.

--People who like to breath oxygen.

The rest of you needn't bother to read it.

(While I sound like I'm being paid by either the author or the Scientists and the Andrews Forest, I had never heard of either of them before my mom got me this book for my birthday. I just really liked the book--one of the best and most significant I've ever read.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Draws Scientific Blood!, October 15, 2005
In the argument on whether or not to save old growth, this book draws scientific blood.

I read this book non-stop until I finished. I've never come across a work that so succintly explains the scientific research on old growth forests in the Northwest.

Want to understand why old growth is important? Read this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contains factual errors, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem (Paperback)
On the one hand, I enjoyed this book because there are some interesting insights into the science and history of forest ecology. On the other hand, there are some factual errors that cause me to worry as to the accuracy of the rest of the book.

For instance, the author states that monarch butterflies obtain their distastefulness to predators by consuming milkweed pollen, but that is not true. The caterpillars of the monarch feed upon milkweed leaves and the toxins in the leaves confer toxicity to the caterpillars (and subsequently to the butterfly). Another misstatement involved the description of the process of photosynthesis in which he claims that the end product contains one carbon, two hydrogens and one oxygen. I gave him the benefit of the doubt at first because, while it is not the correct formula, it is at least the correct ratio of glucose (C6H12O6). However, then he went on to say that the product was sucrose ("simple table sugar")! Sucrose does not have the same ratio at all; it is composed of a molecule of glucose connected to a molecule of fructose. While plants do use sucrose as a form of energy storage, it is not accurate to say that it is the direct product of photosynthesis.

In light of these problems, I have to take the other information in this book with a grain of salt, which is unfortunate because it covers a fascinating subject.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a Pleasure, February 1, 2005
By 
C. L Wilson (Elmhurst, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I don't think I can add anything of much value to the editorial reviews, all of which are excellent and fairly describe this book. For all you who have ever walked in an old forest, gone hiking in a forest preserve, felt the immensity and wisdom that is offered there, this book brings that gloriously to life again. Luoma's description of his ride in the crane is worth the price alone. Sweeping over the forest canopy twenty-five stories in the air is not for the faint of heart. Only 209 pages of reading, it flies by in just a few days. And he brings the scientists who work on all this to our dens with such intimacy. These are people who work in the field, not huddled over their microscopes, mostly. Pick it up; you won't be sorry.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars knowledge made into pleasure reading, June 21, 2000
By A Customer
Luoma knows how to take important scientific work in forest ecology, and turn it into a book that is a pleasure to read. If learning had been this much fun in school, think how well educated we would all be today! Seriously, I like to read well-written books, but I prefer them to be to tell me things I din't know. Hidden forests does. Another really good read out this season is Bullough's Pond, a treatment of ecological history and industrial revolution that I found fascinating, and it read like a novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I use it in my class, July 23, 2009
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This book IS required reading for my students. It's a good way for non specialists to get a glimpse of what ecology and environmental science is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tells a vitally important story, March 16, 2011
This review is from: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem (Paperback)
After my wife and I purchased forest land in Western Washington, we searched far and wide for a book that would give us the perspective and insights we would need to be responsible stewards of the land. Luoma's book was the answer to our prayers. In the coming years of climate change it is vitally important that the broad public have a better understanding and appreciation of forest ecology. This book is at the very top level in science popularization -- fully on a par with the best of Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, November 7, 2010
This review is from: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem (Paperback)
I'm still reading this book, but am loving it. I'm learning a lot about North American forest ecology and research. But the book is much more about that, since it focuses on the people involved as well, which makes for much more enjoyable reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Science literature for the masses (it's a good thing!!), December 4, 2013
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This review is from: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem (Paperback)
This is an excellent book because it tells a compelling and accessible story based on forest ecosystems ecology. There are a few informational errors here and there but overall, this is an engaging telling of a very complex story. I enjoyed this book and the interdisciplinary approach Luoma took.
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Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem
Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem by Jon R. Luoma (Paperback - April 1, 2006)
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