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California Serpentines: Flora, Vegetation, Geology, Soils, and Management Problems (UC Publications in Botany)

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ISBN-13: 978-0520097018
ISBN-10: 0520097017
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About the Author

Arthur R. Krukeberg is Professor of Botany at the University of Washington.
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Product Details

  • Series: UC Publications in Botany (Book 78)
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520097017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520097018
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,133,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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To the eyes of someone from southern Australia, serpentine lands constitute a strange anomaly because they are the only soils in the Enriched World that are of anything approaching the typical fertility (more correctly, of course, the typical infertility) of soils today in Australia and Southern Africa, and indeed of all soils in most geological eras. Their lack of the normal climatic zonality of Enriched World soils creates a number of unique species and communities, which constitute some of the most poleward "biodiversity hotspots" in the world.

Outside of the tropics, California contains the largest concentration of serpentines in the world, and like New Caledonia, its environment to some extent is shaped by the character of these toxic soils, which contain unusual concentrations of siderophile metals nickel, chromium and cobalt. Serpentine soils, like those of Australia and Southern Africa, are very deficient in phosphorus, nitrogen and sulfur, though there are important differences in that they lack the severe deficiency in chalcophile elements found in almost all Australian and Southern African soils. Serpentine soils, as author Artur Kruckebrgs shows, also often have some unique physical problems because of their shallowness and very high erosion risk, a trait also found on soils derived from other ultramafics. Despite this, as I have recently read, the poisonous and infertile character of serpentine soils allows the northern California coast, where they are most dense, to in some respects appear a region of much lower latitude than it is. Examples can be seen in the duetting towhees, which are almost the most northerly birds with this trait.
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