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Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest Hardcover – September 27, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0807828861 ISBN-10: 0807828866 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (September 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807828866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807828861
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,754,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The longleaf pine once comprised the largest ecosystem in North America, extending from Texas to Virginia and south to Florida. The forest was so vast that one early traveler, finding the landscape monotonous, summarized the woodlands as "entirely too immense." Part of the geographic success of the pine resided in its flammable resins; seasonal fires triggered seed production of the longleaf and its plant associates, enabling them to propagate over wide areas. These same resins, however, led to the forest's downfall, because they were sought-after ingredients in the manufacture of tar and turpentine. Out of the original 92 million acres of longleaf, fewer than 3 million remain. Recently, however, collaborations between ecologists and foresters have brought new hope to the beleaguered ecosystem, and painstaking effort may bring back not only the longleaf but also the forest-dwelling gopher tortoise and the red-cockaded woodpecker. Earley's enthusiasm for the forest's restoration doesn't quite make up for his uninspired prose, but green-minded readers will be drawn to this ode to the piney woods. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Richly detailed, impeccably researched . . . at times controversial: this merits a place alongside Bartram in the library devoted to the South." -- Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2004, starred review

The decline of the longleaf pine is a complex story, well and thoroughly told by . . . Earley. -- Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2004

This is the definitive book on longleaf pine. . . . For people curious about biology and history, it is fascinating. -- WoodenBoat Review, January-February, 2005

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Lawrence S. Earley writes very well and puts all the words together very well.
Ryan
The longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the entire world.
Mark J. Hainds
Twenty-three pages of references make me wonder how he ever finished the book.
Kirby Adams

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Watson on November 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For years I have been concerned about the disappearance of the South American Rain Forest. What was shocking from Earley's book is how we had our own expansive Forest with it's own ecosystem and let it disappear before our very eyes without anyone noticing.

It is not only a wonderfully told story of the Longleaf pine but it is a genuine history of how the South's economic development between the time of the settlers and up until today nearly destroyed it's most valuable resource and the ecology that was a part of it.

The only problem with this book was not being able to put it down after I started reading it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robb White on September 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is as accurate and detailed as any scholarly paper but is written so well that it is certain to be a classic of literature like Archie Carr's "The Windward Road."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kirby Adams on October 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Earley was trying to write a history of turpentining. What he ended up with was a spectacular essay on the natural history of longleaf pine forests, the human history of the forested south, an essay on conflicting views in forestry, and....oh yes...turpentine!

Reading this as an ecologist, I found everything I wanted with just enough of the human element to flesh it out without boring me. Oddly enough, I suspect those reading this from an anthropological view have the same opinion about the natural history aspect of the book. Earley is that good in weaving his tale.

It flows well, is well organized, and the research and references are stunning. Twenty-three pages of references make me wonder how he ever finished the book. (In his acknowledgements he seems to wonder the same thing himself!)

This book belongs on the shelf of every forester, ecologist, and southern historian. I'm just thankful I stumbled across it on a rainy day in Congaree National Park.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie H. Moore on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've given copies of "Looking for Longleaf" to many friends since it was published, particularly those interested in southen history, natural history, conservation and forestry. Just found out I neeed two more copies for Christmas presents. Hope the author writes Looking for Longleaf II soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel McNair on July 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm in graduate school working a county flora in Mississippi that includes a lot of longleaf pine dominated areas. This book is a wonderful read and, I think, vital for understanding the history of the coastal plain.
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By Bighat57 on December 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is well written and enjoyable to read. Reluctant to buy a textbook on forestry, I got a primer on the subject by reading this short history of southern longleaf forests, what they looked like in colonial times and how they changed through time. Fascinating to understand the transformation from what was then to what is now; especially the industrial methods used in turpenting and logging. Just the photos speak volumes.
The story is a balanced view that covers various forest management practices through the years in attempts to regenerate longleaf forests, either for biodiversity or lumber. Some worked, some failed. It's changed the way I see my world, and now understand the vital role fire plays in restoration of sustainable habitat. Unless the public accepts the necessity of prescribed burns we will always be dealing with the consequences of destructive wildfires and extinction of species. That's reason enough to educate yourself on the subject.
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