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Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain Cover

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Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain

Nature, Culture, and Sustainability

Edited by Evan Peacock and Timothy Schauwecker, with contributions from Scott Si

This comprehensive study of one of the most ecologically rich regions of the Southeast underscores the relevance of archaeological research in understanding long-term cultural change.

Taking a holistic approach, this compilation gathers ecological, historical, and archaeological research written on the distinctive region of the Southeast called the Gulf coast blackland prairie. Ranging from the last glacial period to the present day, the case studies provide a broad picture of how the area has changed through time and been modified by humans, first with nomadic bands of Indians trailing the grazing animals and then by Euro-American settlers who farmed the rich agricultural area. Contemporary impacts include industrialization, aquaculture, population growth, land reclamation, and wildlife management.

It is believed that the Black Belt and the Great Plains were contiguous in the past and shared the same prairie vegetation, insects, and large fauna, such as bison. Swaths and patches of limestone-based soils still weave a biological corridor through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In analyzing this distinct grassland ecosystem, the essays compare both the mega and minute flora and fauna sustained by the land in the past and present; reveal what foods were harvested by early inhabitants, their gathering techniques, and diet changes over the 10,000-year period of native occupancy; survey the documents of early explorers for descriptions of the landform, its use, and the lives of inhabitants at the time of contact; and look at contemporary efforts to halt abuse and reverse damage to this unique and shrinking biome.

This book demonstrates that the blackland prairie has always been an important refuge for a teeming array of biological species, including humans. It will have wide scholarly appeal as well as general interest and will be welcomed by archaeologists, biologists, botanists, ecologists, historians, librarians, politicians, land managers, and national, state, and local administrators.

Evan Peacock is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mississippi State University and a contributor to The Woodland Southeast. Timothy Schauwecker is a biologist with Mississippi State University.

Bones for Barnum Brown Cover

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Bones for Barnum Brown

Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter

James O. Farlow

Roland Thaxter Bird, universally and affectionately known to friends and associates as R. T., achieved a kind of Horatio Alger success in the scientific world of dinosaur studies. Forced to drop out of school at a young age by ill health, he was a cowboy who traveled from job to job by motorcycle until he met Barnum Brown, Curator of Vertebrae Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a leader in the study of dinosaurs. Beginning in 1934, Bird spent many years as an employee of the museum and as Brown's right-hand man in the field. His chart of the Howe Quarry in Wyoming, a massive sauropod boneyard, is one of the most complex paleontological charts ever produced and a work of art in its own right. His crowning achievement was the discovery, collection, and interpretation of gigantic Cretaceous dinosaur trackways along the Paluxy River near Glen Rose and at Bandera, Texas. A trackway from Glen Rose is on exhibit at the American Museum and at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. His interpretation of these trackways demonstrated that a large carnosaur had pursued and attacked a sauropod, that sauropods migrated in herds, and that, contrary to then-current belief, sauropods were able to support their own weight out of deep water. These behavioral interpretations anticipated later dinosaur studies by at least two decades.

From his first meeting with Barnum Brown to his discoveries at Glen Rose and Bandera, this very human account tells the story of Bird's remarkable work on dinosaurs. In a vibrantly descriptive style, Bird recorded both the intensity and excitement of field work and the careful and painstaking detail of laboratory reconstruction. His memoir presents a vivid picture of camp life with Brown and the inner workings of the famous American Museum of Natural History, and it offers a new and humanizing account of Brown himself, one of the giants of his field.

Bird's memoir has been supplemented with a clear and concise introduction to the field of dinosaur study and with generous illustrations which delineate the various types of dinosaurs.

The Book of Music and Nature Cover

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The Book of Music and Nature

An Anthology of Sounds, Words, Thoughts

David Rothenberg

This innovative book and online CD, assembled by the editors of the renowned periodical Terra Nova, is the first anthology published on the subject of music and nature. Lush and evocative, yoking together the simplicities and complexities of the world of natural sound and the music inspired by it, this collection includes essays, illustrations, and plenty of sounds and music. The Book of Music and Nature celebrates our relationship with natural soundscapes while posing stimulating questions about that very relationship. The book ranges widely, with the interplay of the texts and sounds creating a conversation that readers from all walks of life will find provocative and accessible.

The anthology includes classic texts on music and nature by 20th century masters including John Cage, Hazrat Inrayat Khan, Pierre Schaeffer, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Toru Takemitsu. Innovative essays by Brian Eno, Pauline Oliveros, David Toop, Hildegard Westerkamp and Evan Eisenberg also appear. Interspersed throughout are short fictional excerpts by authors Rafi Zabor, Alejo Carpentier, and Junichiro Tanazaki.

The virtual CD at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/musicandnaturecd/ includes fifteen tracks of music made out of, or reflective of, natural sounds, ranging from Babenzele Pygmy music to Australian butcherbirds, and from Pauline Oliveros to Brian Eno.

Bootstrap Geologist Cover

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Bootstrap Geologist

My Life in Science

E. A. Shinn

In Bootstrap Geologist Shinn enthusiastically shares the highs and lows of his remarkable life. Taking readers around the globe as well as below the ocean, he recounts the painstaking process of data gathering that can lead to paradigm-breaking discoveries. He emphasizes the importance of field science and pointedly addresses the use and abuse of scientific research and the emergence of market-funded research.

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Breaking Through

Essays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts

Edward F. Ricketts

Trailblazing marine biologist, visionary conservationist, deep ecology philosopher, Edward F. Ricketts (1897–1948) has reached legendary status in the California mythos. A true polymath and a thinker ahead of his time, Ricketts was a scientist who worked in passionate collaboration with many of his friends—artists, writers, and influential intellectual figures—including, perhaps most famously, John Steinbeck, who once said that Ricketts's mind "had no horizons." This unprecedented collection, featuring previously unpublished pieces as well as others available for the first time in their original form, reflects the wide scope of Ricketts’s scientific, philosophical, and literary interests during the years he lived and worked on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. These writings, which together illuminate the evolution of Ricketts’s unique, holistic approach to science, include "Verbatim transcription of notes on the Gulf of California trip," the basic manuscript for Steinbeck’s and Ricketts’s Log from the Sea of Cortez; the essays "The Philosophy of Breaking Through" and "A Spiritual Morphology of Poetry;" several shorter pieces on topics including collecting invertebrates and the impact of modernization on Mexican village life; and more. An engaging critical biography and a number of rare photographs offer a new and richly detailed view of Ricketts’s life.

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Bringing Down the Mountains

The Impact of Mountaintop Removal on Southern West Virginia Communities

Shirley Stewart Burns

Coal is West Virginia’s bread and butter. For more than a century, West Virginia has answered the energy call of the nation—and the world—by mining and exporting its coal. In 2004, West Virginia’s coal industry provided almost forty thousand jobs directly related to coal, and it contributed $3.5 billion to the state’s gross annual product. And in the same year, West Virginia led the nation in coal exports, shipping over 50 million tons of coal to twenty-three countries. Coal has made millionaires of some and paupers of many. For generations of honest, hard-working West Virginians, coal has put food on tables, built homes, and sent students to college. But coal has also maimed, debilitated, and killed. Bringing Down the Mountains provides insight into how mountaintop removal has affected the people and the land of southern West Virginia. It examines the mechanization of the mining industry and the power relationships between coal interests, politicians, and the average citizen.

Brush Management Cover

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Brush Management

Past, Present, Future

By Wayne T. Hamilton, Allan McGinty, Darrell N. Ueckert, C. Wayne Hanselka and Michelle R. Lee

The presence of brush in rangeland environments continually tops the list of priority issues among landowners, and not just in Texas. Whether they manage their land for livestock, hunting, or wildlife watching, what to do about unwanted woody plants remains a serious and pervasive question for landowners everywhere. In the pages of this book, leading range management professionals introduce and explain not only the mechanisms of managing brush but also the changes in management philosophy and technology that have taken place over time. From the futile attempts at eradication to the successes of integrated brush management, expert practitioners examine mechanical, biological, chemical, and fire-related methods from three perspectives—the past, the present or “state-of-the-art,” and the future. In a final discussion, three specialists address the timely and important subject of brush management as it relates to water yield, economics, and wildlife. Brush Management: Past, Present, Future gives readers a straightforward and comprehensive view of a topic that remains a consistent concern for livestock, wildlife, and land management—one that will serve as a useful and interesting summary of the subject for teachers, students, landowners, and management professionals.

Burley Cover

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Burley

Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century

Ann K. Ferrell

Once iconic American symbols, tobacco farms are gradually disappearing. It is difficult for many people to lament the loss of a crop that has come to symbolize addiction, disease, and corporate deception; yet, in Kentucky, the plant has played an important role in economic development and prosperity. Burley tobacco -- a light, air-cured variety used in cigarette production -- has long been the Commonwealth's largest cash crop and an important aspect of regional identity, along with bourbon, bluegrass music, and Thoroughbred horses.

In Burley: Kentucky Tobacco in a New Century, Ann K. Ferrell investigates the rapidly transforming process of raising and selling tobacco by chronicling her conversations with the farmers who know the crop best. She demonstrates that although the 2004 "buyout" ending the federal tobacco program is commonly perceived to be the most significant change that growers have had to negotiate, it is, in reality, only one new factor among many. Burley reveals the tangible and intangible challenges tobacco farmers face today, from the logistics of cultivation to the growing stigma against the crop.

Ferrell uses ethnography, archival research, and rhetorical analysis to tell the complex story of burley tobacco production in twenty-first-century Kentucky. Not only does she give a voice to the farmers who persevere in this embattled industry, but she also sheds light on their futures, contesting the widely held assumption that they can easily replace the crop by diversifying their opera-tions with alternative crops. As tobacco fades from both the physical and economic landscapes, this nuanced volume documents and explores the culture and practices of burley production today.

The Butterflies of Iowa Cover

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The Butterflies of Iowa

This beautiful and comprehensive guide, many years in the making, is a manual for identifying the butterflies of Iowa as well as 90 percent of the butterflies in the Plains states.
    It begins by providing information on the natural communities of Iowa, paying special attention to butterfly habitat and distribution. Next come chapters on the history of lepidopteran research in Iowa and on creating butterfly gardens, followed by an intriguing series of questions and issues relevant to the study of butterflies in the state.
    The second part contains accounts, organized by family, for the 118 species known to occur in Iowa. Each account includes the common and scientific names for each species, its Opler and Warren number, its status in Iowa, adult flight times and number of broods per season, distinguishing features, distribution and habitat, and natural history information such as behavior and food plant preferences. As a special feature of each account, the authors have included questions that illuminate the research and conservation challenges for each species.
    In the third section, the illustrations, grouped for easier comparison among species, include color photographs of all the adult forms that occur in Iowa. Male and female as well as top and bottom views are shown for most species. The distribution maps indicate in which of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties specimens have been collected; flight times for each species are shown by marking the date of collection for each verified specimen on a yearly calendar.
    The book ends with a checklist, collection information specific to the photographs, a glossary, references, and an index. The authors’ meticulous attention to detail, stimulating questions for students and researchers, concern for habitat preservation, and joyful appreciation of the natural world make it a valuable and inspiring volume.

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