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xi For many people, certainly for the majority of North Americans with homes in the northern half of the continent, coniferous trees constitute a large fraction of all the “living material” they will see in a lifetime. Naturalists , hikers, backpackers, canoeists, cross-country skiers—in fact all those whose work or recreation takes them outdoors in northern North America—are accustomed to seeing coniferous trees by the tens of millions, whether they consciously notice them or not. Outdoor people have a wide spectrum of interests. Specialists tend to specialize in “interesting” items: a birder is more likely to concentrate on owls than on starlings, and the average plant-hunter finds orchids more fascinating than crabgrass. Because of this preoccupation with the hardto -find, the beautiful, and the unusual, most of the commonest objects in nature are apt to be ignored. They are simply there, part of the background . But to assume that because a thing is common it is therefore uninteresting is a mistake. For most outdoor people the fact that they will encounter rank upon rank of coniferous trees in excursion after excursion in the future neither pleases nor displeases them. They don’t even think about it. If there are innumerable coniferous trees in your future, why not take advantage of the fact, look at the trees more closely, and learn something about them? Knowledge cannot fail to bring interest and appreciation. Learning to identify the different species of coniferous trees is only a beginning. Once you know the trees, many things can be observed if you Preface to the First Edition xii preface to the first edition know what to look for. There is, however, a world of difference between seeing and interpreting. The ability to interpret is the hallmark of the true naturalist, and developing that ability is one of the pleasures of being a naturalist. The well-informed naturalist understands and enjoys a thousand things that the uninformed one doesn’t even notice; and the more people who understand and enjoy the woods, the more there will be to protect them. E. C. Pielou Denman Island, British Columbia THE WORLD OF Northern Evergreens ...


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MARC Record
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