- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Island Press; 2 edition (December 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159726489X
- ISBN-13: 978-1597264891
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Reed Noss is Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Central Florida, former editor-in-chief of Conservation Biology, and past-president of the Society for Conservation Biology.
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Top customer reviews
With respect to conservation, Noss has concerns over two trends. One is that grasslands are seen by some as wholly human created ecosystems (native American fires) rather than as natural ecosystems worth maintaining. He has a counter argument that some grasslands predate human influence on the landscape. For example, there are too many endemic species to have evolved within a human influence timeline. Also there is a cool lightening frequency map inside to help support the natural causes of fire.
The other concern is that too much emphasis is being placed on ecosystem services (economic values) rather than on biodiversity and intrinsic value.
While its focus is on the southeastern fourth of the U.S., Reed Noss illuminates new principles that resonate as far away as California, the vanished grasslands of the Oregon Willamette Valley and those of other countries.
There are new color maps of the whole US showing hotspots of species diversity, the national pattern of lightning strike density--one key to knowing historical fire regimes--a species richness map of U.S. vertebrates, and a series of black and white maps comparing different authors' conceptions of grasslands of the whole US, the Great Plains prairie-forest transition and southeastern grasslands.
Starting with a new definition of grasslands that expands our freedom to talk about forested grasslands instead of just "forests", the renowned conservation writer and former editor of Conservation Biology opens a window on the southeastern U.S. to a depth never before explored by any writer. He takes us on a tour that must include a hundred sites, often accompanied by skilled local naturalists, always with an eye toward the pervasive role of fire in the original landscape of the continent and reminding us that fire--sometimes along with factors like wetness and stressful soils that resist establishment of trees--is the creator of grasslands.
In these explorations we learn a new way to read the landscape in its long geologic history and how its elements were sculpted by fire and evolutionary adaptations to fire. Along the way he points out and comments on no fewer than 77 birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, 16 invertebrates and 399 plants, all identified to species in an appendix. These range from poison ivy and the red and gray wolves who once lived here to hundreds of the rarest and most colorful species.
While satisfying to the scientist, scientific terms are explained and Noss trusts the reader to appreciate the multifaceted world he helps reveal, such expanded perception a trademark of the new naturalist. The book was a must have for me and will be for anyone interested in ecology of the South, the role of natural fire in the diversity of life in the U.S. and our own new roles in sustaining it all.