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From windswept tundra to humid subtropical everglades, fromgracious coniferous forests to austere deserts, North America isblessed with an incredibly diverse array of natural environments, each supporting a unique system of plant and animal life. Thesesystems--also known as biomes--are tightly woven webs of life thathave taken millennia to evolve. This lavishly illustrated bookintroduces readers to this extraordinary array of naturalcommunities and to the subtle interactions of minerals, plants, andanimals that take place within them.
Professor Eric Bolen takes a qualitative, intuitive approach to hissubject, beginning with an overview of essential ecological termsand concepts, such as competitive exclusion, taxa, niches, andsuccession. Then, biome by biome, he covers the entirety of Canadaand the United States, starting with the tundra of the far northand working his way south and then west to conclude in the desertsand chaparral of southern California. Along the way, he delves intopertinent conservation issues and features fascinating historicalvignettes and original documents detailing human impact on variousenvironments--for instance, the role of John Deere's plow insettling grasslands, and the use of fur records from Hudson's BayCompany. Throughout, he enlivens the text with dozens of exquisitephotographs and illuminating maps, graphs, charts, andtables.
Ecology of North America is an ideal first text for studentsinterested in natural resources, environmental science, andbiology, and it is a useful and attractive addition to the libraryof anyone interested in understanding and protecting the naturalenvironment.