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ix The world has changed since 1988 (the year when the first edition of this book appeared). At last it is dawning on governments that forests are more than just a source of timber. They provide, as well, indispensable “ecological services.” Were they to disappear, climate change would speed up because the world would lose its greatest carbon sink. Ways to estimate the monetary worth of ecological services have recently been devised. So far, they have been carried out in detail in only a few places in the world. For example,* a closed-canopy forest in Kenya (East Africa) was found to supply $320 million in services, every year, from 1600 square miles (about 4100 km2 ). As the true worth of forests comes to be appreciated, naturalists’ knowledge is regarded with more respect than it was in the days when their activities were looked on as no more than an enjoyable hobby. Their expertise has become useful and widely appreciated. The purpose of this new edition is to introduce new material on the evergreens in northern North America and to bring the earlier book up-to-date. Some particulars: I have described the contrast between conifers and broadleafs (formerly, and less precisely, known as “hardwoods”) in much more detail. The enormous gap between these two kinds of plants is *Jen Fela, “Reforestation Key to Economic Growth in Kenya,” in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 8, no. 2, 2010, p. 63. Preface to the Second Edition x preface to the second edition obscured by labeling them all simply as “trees.” It conceals their great dissimilarity . They have been evolving divergently from each other for more than a hundred million years (see chapter 6). New chapters are devoted to the forest floor (chapter 7) and to the geographical extents of different forest ecosystems (chapter 12). The effects of logging are discussed in chapter 11, and how global warming is affecting the forests and vice versa, in chapter 13. Some paragraphs have been added on animals whose connections with their special habitats are unusually close, for example, caribou, some grizzly bears, and beavers. And much else besides. No branch of science, and that includes natural history, ever remains static. E. C. Pielou Comox, British Columbia ...


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