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Botany ~ Environmental Education ~ Natural History ~ Natural Resources & Conservation

Forests in Peril

- Tracking Deciduous Trees from Ice-Age Refuges into the Greenhouse World

by Hazel R. Delcourt (Click for author info)

$24.95 Softcover
ISBN 0-939923-89-0; 978-0-939923-89-2

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The great deciduous forest that covers much of eastern North America is one of the continent's most important and magnificent natural resources. Twenty thousand years ago, however, this forest did not exist. Instead, deciduous tree species formed only a minor part of forests dominated by pines, spruces, and firs that were better adapted to a glacial climate. As the climate warmed, the deciduous forest emerged as the dominant vegetation throughout the southeastern quarter of the continent. Native Americans occupied this forest, depended upon its resources, and influenced its dynamics in distinct ways. The human influence on the forest intensified greatly during European colonization, and in the past 200 years the forest has been significantly modified as a result of human activities. As demands for living space and resources increase, the size of the remaining forest diminishes and its prospects for survival in the present and future greenhouse world grow increasingly dim.

In Forests in Peril, Hazel Delcourt takes the reader on her personal journey to document the history of this great forest from its elusive and nebulous presence at the peak of the last age through its development as a magnificent natural resource to its uncertain future in tomorrow's greenhouse world. Along the way the reader is introduced to methods of studying vegetation, collecting and interpreting data, and the application of this knowledge to secure the needs of the forest in a world increasingly dominated by human activities. The philosophical, intellectual, and methodological perspectives contained in Forests in Peril will appeal to readers interested in understanding how the natural history of North America has been studied and how that study can contribute to the protection and preservation of America's important biological resources.

Forests in Peril is a blend of autobiography, professional passion in pursuit of scholarly inquiry, and expression of the ways that the study of the past can contribute to the quality of life in the future.