Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The irreversible prairie, August 27, 2009
This review is from: Where The Sky Began: Land of the Tallgrass Prairie (Bur Oak Book) (Paperback)
This book, like the great American prairie, is rich in structure and detail. It offers a little of everything- I especially became interested in John's description of the formation of prairie soils from the glacial legacy rich in calcium carbonate (a.k.a pheasant territory) to the rates of root decomposition. His flair for spicing up words gives us the pleistocene ice rivers grinding the rock flour that becomes 'loess' and Mantioba lime dragged half way down to Illinois to become "Black Prairie" Beyond that comes everything affected by prairie, and vica-verse- namely animals, plants and people. His view of a locust raid, for example, details an imbalance of nature but sums up the result as "quality" of prairie actions. But the breathtaking moment arrives when John shares his depth of perspective on human impact, we assume irreversible damage in an age of climate change, but as John says " Man may exhaust the prairie soils and send them to seas, but the age-long geologic processes will renew them. The only tragedy is not a lasting destruction of the land, but the destruction of our capacity to use and enjoy it" Finally, the image of 'Song Dog' or 'Prairie Wolf' epitomizes the longevity of a climax ecosystem. Madson writes that Coyote will also outlast us, having adapted to environmental changes faster than human, " She is master of her own fate" and will use all our relics as scent posts. Where then do we look for true staibilty? It is really already here. In Coyote, Bluestem and Sunflower.
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