Trees, Truffles, and Beasts
How Forests Function
Publication Year: 2008
Because today's decisions are tomorrow's consequences, every small effort makes a difference, but a broader understanding of our environmental problems is necessary to the development of sustainable ecosystem policies. In Trees, Truffles, and Beasts, Chris Maser, Andrew W. Claridge, and James M. Trappe make a compelling case that we must first understand the complexity and interdependency of species and habitats from the microscopic level to the gigantic. Comparing forests in the Pacific Northwestern United States and Southeastern mainland of Australia, the authors show how easily observable speciesùtrees and mammalsùare part of a complicated infrastructure that includes fungi, lichens, and organisms invisible to the naked eye, such as microbes.
Eminently readable, this important book shows that forests are far more complicated than most of us might think, which means simplistic policies will not save them. Understanding the biophysical intricacies of our life-support systems just might.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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We depend on forests, yet we know less about them than we should. Forests are thought by many to be economic engines, providing wood for construction and fuel and wood chips for paper. Even as tourists we view forests as a vista of trees, cloaking mountains...
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Save America’s Forests, Collins Pine (one of the Collins Companies), Mendocino Redwood Company, and Patagonia, Inc., all consider the world’s forests to be of such critical importance to humanity that they were willing to come together to help fund our book. In addition, Henry Trione, Sue Johnston, and Keith Olsen have...
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We have joined to address the ever-unfolding story of forest development on two disparate continents—North America and Australia. Chris, an American, has research experience in North America, Europe...
Chapter 1: The Forest We See
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When we think of an indigenous, old forest, we may picture a landscape of trees as far as the eye can see. Massive trunks with thick bark give rise to a canopy of branches and foliage that shuts out the sky two hundred to three hundred feet (61 to 91 meters) above the ground...
Chapter 2: The Unseen Forest
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The visible part of a forest may occupy a vertical space of up to 300 feet, or even more in some types of forests, where overstory trees can be huge. In contrast, the unseen part in the soil is compressed into a few vertical feet or yards (meters). Soil is the crucible in which the abiotic and biotic...
Chapter 3: Trees, Truffles, and Beasts: Coevolution in Action
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In this chapter, we explore the kinds of forest fungi that have evolved, their role in forest ecosystems, and especially their interactions with the other forest organisms and the feedback loops so common to these interactions. Our primary example will be the trees, truffl es, and...
Chapter 4: Of Animals and Fungi
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Bettongs, potoroos, wallabies, and eucalypts; voles, squirrels, deer, and firs—the first group is Australian, the second North American. Despite their striking diff erences and locations on opposite sides of the Earth, each group interacts with truffles and tree-truffl e relationships in much the same way. Some of the animals have coevolved with the truffl es, others...
Chapter 5: The Importance of Mycophagy
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Mycophagy brings together trees, fungi, and animals in unseen interactions that profoundly affect the overall functioning of a forest. As such, mycophagy exemplifies the innumerable seen and unseen interactions that proceed simultaneously in a forest, where together they provide the myriad feedback loops and subsequent diversity needed for forest health...
Chapter 6: Landscape Patterns and Fire
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When considering system-altering disturbances, we must recognize what sets us apart from our fellow creatures. It is not some higher sense of spirituality or some nobler sense of purpose, but rather that we deem ourselves wise in our own eyes. Therein lies the fallacy. We are neither...
Chapter 7: Forest Succession and Habitat Dynamics
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Besides the obvious cataclysms, minute pathogenic organisms can attack a forest unseen, but with equally devastating eff ects. In addition, through tinkering with a disturbance regime, we can change the trajectory of an ecosystem, such as a forest, by altering the kinds and arrangement...
Chapter 8: Of Lifestyles and Shared Habitats
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In discussing the lifestyles and shared habitats of those creatures that perform the free ecosystem services required by us humans, we will contrast the fungus eaters (mycophagists) of two forests in northwestern Oregon (USA) and two forests in Australia. It is our intent to help...
Chapter 9: Lessons from the Trees, the Truffles, and the Beasts
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Drawing lessons from interactions among trees, belowground fungi, and forest animals and relating them to the policies and practices of forest management may seem a stretch at first glance. But remember, this group of organisms is simply our surrogate to represent the myriad...
Appendix A: North American Common and Scientific Names
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Appendix B: Australian Common and Scientific Names
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About the Authors
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2008