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Bayou-Diversity

Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country

Kelby Ouchley

Publication Year: 2011

Louisiana’s bayous and their watersheds teem with cypress trees, alligators, crawfish, and many other life forms. From Bayou Tigre to Half Moon Bayou, these sluggish streams meander through lowlands, marshes, and even uplands to dominate the state’s landscape. In Bayou-Diversity, conservationist Kelby Ouchley reveals the bayou’s intricate web of flora and fauna. Through a collection of essays about Louisiana’s natural history, Ouchley details an amazing array of plants and animals found in the Bayou State. Baldcypress, orchids, feral hogs, eels, black bears, bald eagles, and cottonmouth snakes live in the well over a hundred bayous of the region. Collectively, Ouchley’s vignettes portray vibrant and complex habitats. But human interaction with the bayou and our role in its survival, Ouchley argues, will determine the future of these intricate ecosystems. Bayou-Diversity narrates the story of the bayou one flower, one creature at a time, in turn illustrating the bigger picture of this treasured and troubled Louisiana landscape.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-

Since 1995 the Monroe, Louisiana, public radio station, KEDM 90.3 FM, has aired my short biweekly radio program entitled Bayou-Diversity. Many of the hundreds of narrated essays written for that program appear in this book. I am happily indebted to past and...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

I have been blessed by spending most of my life near bayous. At various times I have lived within a few miles of Bayou D’Arbonne, Bayou Queue de Tortue, Bayou Teche, Bayou Jeansonne, Bayou St. John, Bayou Bartholomew, Bayou de L’Outre, Bayou Rigolette...

BIOTA: The Plant and Animal Life of a Particular Region

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1. Bayou-Flora: Plants in a Place of Bayous

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pp. 7-39

No less than 3,249 species and subspecies of vascular plants have been found growing in Louisiana. Of this number, 826 (25 percent) are considered non-native in the state and were introduced intentionally or accidentally. Many in this category are troublesome...

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2. Bayou-Fauna: Animals in a Place of Bayous

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pp. 40-117

More than 450 species of wild birds have been recorded in Louisiana. From bayous in wetlands to hilltops in uplands, birds blanket our landscape, settling into niches as varied as a barren spit of sand to an old, fungus-infested pine. Some are static, completing their...

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3. Modi Operandi: Methods of Functioning or Operating

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pp. 118-148

The natural world of bayou country is driven by a myriad of processes, all a blend of biotic and abiotic components with their deepest roots in the energy from our closest star. Photosynthesis, respiration, and meiosis are no more important to life than the averages...

CONFLUENCE: A Flowing Together of Two or More Streams of Life in a Physical Place

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4. Encounter: A Meeting, Especially One That Is Unplanned, Unexpected, or of Note

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pp. 151-179

Shortly after New Year’s Day in 1913, the steamboat Gopher pulled hard to port side and entered the mouth of Bayou D’Arbonne from the Ouachita River above Monroe, Louisiana. She was on a special chartered trip, and the passengers had no interest in the bustling...

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5. Collision: A Crash or Conflict

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pp. 180-199

Bison, or buffalo, were once the most numerous single species of large wild mammal on the planet. They blanketed the Great Plains of North America and were the life-blood of Plains Indian societies for thousands of years. During the nineteenth century, commercial...

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6. Junction: The Act or Process of Joining to Become One in Harmony

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pp. 200-213

Since the founding of America, attitudes toward nature have changed, and they continue to do so. Early pioneers maintained a European mindset, considering nature an entity to be conquered, civilized, and rid of competing wild beasts as necessary. The theory...

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Epilogue

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pp. 215-218

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico 78 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, killing 11 workers. The event was the beginning of what President Barack Obama called the “greatest environmental disaster of...

Appendix: Louisiana Bayou Names

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pp. 219-226


E-ISBN-13: 9780807138601
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807138595

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011

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Subject Headings

  • Biodiversity -- Louisiana.
  • Bayous -- Louisiana.
  • Species diversity -- Louisiana.
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