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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 10, Number 4, 2011

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 10, Issue 4 (2011): 772–776

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772 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 10, No. 4 Wild North Carolina: Discovering the Wonders of Our State’s Natural Communities. David Blevins and Michael P. Schafale. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 184 pp. $39.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780807834671. Celebrating the beauty, diversity, and significance of the state’s natural landscapes, Wild North Carolina provides an engaging, beautifully illustrated introduction to North Carolina’s interconnected webs of plant and animal life. From dunes and marshes to high mountain crags, through forests, swamps, savannas, ponds, pocosins, and flatrocks, David Blevins and Michael Schafale reveal in words and photographs natural patterns of the landscape that will help readers see familiar places in a new way and new places with a sense of familiarity. Wild North Carolina introduces the full range of the state’s diverse natural communities, each brought to life with compelling accounts of their significance and meaning, arresting photographs featuring broad vistas and close-ups, and details on where to go to experience them first hand. Blevins and Schafale provide nature enthusiasts of all levels with the insights they need to value the state’s natural diversity, highlighting the reasons plants and animals are found where they are, as well as the challenges of conserving these special places. Fishing North Carolina’s Outer Banks: The Complete Guide to Catching More Fish from Surf, Pier, Sound, and Ocean. Stan Ulanski. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 216 pp. $20, softcover. ISBN 9780807872079. In this hands-on, how-to guide to fishing North Carolina’s Outer Banks, expert fisherman Stan Ulanski combines his enthusiasm, his experience, and his scientific expertise to show anglers how to catch more fish. Focusing on the essential but often misunderstood links between recreational fishing and the biology, geography, and natural history of the region, Fishing North Carolina’s Outer Banks fosters an understanding of the aquatic environment of one of the nation’s prime fishing destinations. Ulanski reveals the best approaches to the six main Outer Banks angling scenarios: surf, pier, sound, offshore, inshore, and reef, ledge, and shipwreck fishing. The book features illustrated fish profiles—each loaded with essential information, including identification, food value, and habitat pointers—and species-specific fishing 772 tips for thirty-five of the Outer Banks’ most common game fish. And, once you’ve made your catch, Ulanski provides important storing, cleaning, and cooking advice—including six of his favorite fresh fish recipes. This is a trusty tackle box tool for planning fishing trips to the Outer Banks and for understanding the underwater setting of the fish you’re out to catch. The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future. Stanley R. Riggs, Dorothea V. Ames, Stephen J. Culver, and David J. Mallinson. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 160 pp. $25, hardcover. ISBN 9780807834862. The North Carolina barrier islands, a 325-mile-long string of narrow sand islands that forms the coast of North Carolina, are one of the most beloved areas to live and visit in the United States. However, extensive barrier island segments and their associated wetlands are in jeopardy. In The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast, four experts on coastal dynamics examine issues that threaten this national treasure. According to the authors, the North Carolina barrier islands are not permanent. Rather, they are highly mobile piles of sand that are impacted by sea-level rise and major storms and hurricanes. Our present development and management policies for these changing islands are in direct conflict with their natural dynamics. Revealing the urgency of the environmental and economic problems facing coastal North Carolina, this essential book offers a hopeful vision for the coast’s future if we are willing to adapt to the barriers’ ongoing and natural processes. This will require a radical change in our thinking about development and new approaches to the way we visit and use the coast. Ultimately, we cannot afford to lose these unique and valuable islands of opportunity. This book is an urgent call to protect our coastal resources and preserve our coastal economy. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Sandhills Region: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Bruce A. Sorrie. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 392 pp. $25, softcover. ISBN 9780807871867. Featuring over 600 wildflowers, flowering shrubs, and vines, this user-friendly field guide is the first to focus on the rare, fragile lands and species of the Sandhills region of the Carolinas and Georgia. Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 10/4, 2011 2011 Noteworthy Books 773 Characterized by Longleaf Pine forests, rolling hills, abundant blackwater streams, several major rivers, and porous sandy soils, the Sandhills region stretches from Fayetteville, NC southwest to Columbus, GA, and represents the farthest advance of the Atlantic Ocean some 2 million years ago. Wildflowers of the Sandhills Region is arranged by habitat, with color tabs to facilitate easy browsing of the nine different natural communities whose plants are described here. Bruce A. Sorrie, a botanist with over 30 years of experience, includes common plants, region-specific endemics, and local rarities, each with its own species description, and over 540 color photos for easy identification. The field guide’s opening section includes an introduction to the Sandhills region’s geology, soil types, and special relationship to fire ecology; an overview of rare species and present conservation efforts; a glossary and key to flower and leaf structures; and a listing of gardens, preserves, and parklands in the Sandhills region and nearby where wildflowers can be seen and appreciated. Wildflower enthusiasts and professional naturalists alike will find this comprehensive guide extremely useful. Southern Appalachian Celebration: In Praise of Ancient Mountains, Old-Growth Forests, and Wilderness. James Valentine. 2011. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 152 pp. $35, hardcover. ISBN 9780807835142. With this stunning collection of images of the Southern Appalachians, James Valentine presents an enduring portrait of the region’s unique natural character. His compelling photographs of ancient mountains, old-growth forests, rare plants, and powerful waterways reveal the Appalachians’ rich scenic beauty, while Chris Bolgiano’s interpretive text and captions tell the story of its natural history. Over four decades, Valentine has hiked hundreds of miles across mountainous parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia to photograph some of the last remnants of original forest. These scarce and scattered old-growth stands are the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world. By sharing these remaining pristine wild places with us, Valentine and Bolgiano show that understanding these mountains and their extraordinary biodiversity is vital to maintaining the healthy environment that sustains all life. Featuring an introduction by the late, longtime conservationist Robert Zahner and a foreword by William Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, this visually entrancing and verbally engaging book celebrates the vibrant life of Southern Appalachian forests. Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams. Bill Belleville. 2011. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 304 pp. $24.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780813035772. Modern life has a tendency to trap people in cubicles, cars, and cookie-cutter suburbs. Thankfully, someone comes along now and then to remind us of the beauty that presents itself when we turn off the information feeds and turn away from the daily grind. Bill Belleville’s enchanting Salvaging the Real Florida invites readers to rediscover treasures hidden in plain sight. Join Belleville as he paddles a glowing lagoon, slogs through a swamp, explores a spring cave, dives a “literary” shipwreck, and pays a visit to the colorful historic district of an old riverboat town. Journey with him in search of the Apple Snail, the Black Bear, a rare cave-dwelling shrimp, and more. Everywhere he goes, Belleville finds beauty, intrigue, and, more often than not, a legacy in peril. Following in the tradition of John Muir, William Bartram, and Henry David Thoreau, Belleville forges intimate connections with his surroundings. Like the works of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Archie Carr, his evocative stories carry an urgent and important call to preserve what is left of the natural world. Conserving Southern Longleaf: Herbert Stoddard and the Rise of Ecological Land Management. Albert G. Way. 2011. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 320 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780820340173.The Red Hills region of south Georgia and north Florida contains one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America, with Longleaf Pine trees that are up to four hundred years old and an understory of unparalleled plant life. At first glance, the longleaf woodlands at plantations like Greenwood, outside Thomasville, GA, seem undisturbed by market economics and human activity, but Albert G. Way contends that this environment was socially produced and that its story adds nuance to the broader narrative of American conservation. The Red Hills woodlands were thought of primarily as a healthful refuge for northern industrialists in the early twentieth century. When notable wildlife biologist Herbert Stoddard arrived in 1924, he began to recognize the area’s 774 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 10, No. 4 ecological value. Stoddard was with the federal government, but he drew on local knowledge to craft his land management practices, to the point where a distinctly southern, agrarian form of ecological conservation emerged. This set of practices was in many respects progressive, particularly in its approach to fire management and species diversity, and much of it remains in effect today. Using Stoddard as a window into this unique conservation landscape, Conserving Southern Longleaf positions the Red Hills as a valuable center for research into and understanding of wildlife biology, fire ecology, and the environmental appreciation of a region once dubbed simply the “pine barrens.” Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator. Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson. 2011. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 176 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780820338354. Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese Pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading birds, Bobcats, White-tailed Deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well. Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifi cally grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States. Features information on general python biology, biology of Burmese Pythons in their native range, research on pythons in the United States, history and status of introduced pythons in Florida, risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere, methods to control python populations, and other boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the United States. The Evidence for Evolution. Alan R. Rogers. 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 128 pp. $18, softcover. ISBN 9780226723822. According to polling data, most Americans doubt that evolution is a real phenomenon. And it’s no wonder that so many are skeptical: many of today’s biology courses and textbooks dwell on the mechanisms of evolution—natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow—but say little about the evidence that evolution happens at all. How do we know that species change? Has there really been enough time for evolution to operate? With The Evidence for Evolution, Alan R. Rogers provides an elegant, straightforward text that details the evidence for evolution. Rogers covers different levels of evolution, from within-species changes, which are much less challenging to see and believe, to much larger ones, say, from fish to amphibian, or from land mammal to whale. For each case, he supplies numerous lines of evidence to illustrate the changes, including fossils, DNA, and radioactive isotopes. His comprehensive treatment stresses recent advances in knowledge but also recounts the give and take between skeptical scientists who first asked “how can we be sure” and then marshaled scientific evidence to attain certainty. The Evidence for Evolution is a valuable addition to the literature on evolution and will be essential to introductory courses in the life sciences. Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery, and the Quest for Human Origins. Adrian Desmond and James Moore. 2011. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 528 pp. $22.50, softcover. ISBN 9780226144511. There has always been a mystery surrounding Darwin: How did this quiet, respectable gentleman come to beget one of the most radical ideas in the history of human thought? It is difficult to overstate what Darwin was risking in publishing his theory of evolution. So it must have been something very powerful—a moral fire, as Desmond and Moore put it—that helped propel him. That moral fire, they argue, was a passionate hatred of slavery. In opposition to the apologists for slavery who argued that blacks and whites had originated as separate species, Darwin believed the races belonged to the same human family. Slavery was a “sin”, and abolishing it became his “sacred cause”. By extending 2011 Noteworthy Books 775 the abolitionists’ idea of human brotherhood to all life, Darwin developed our modern view of evolution. Drawing on a wealth of fresh manuscripts, family letters, diaries, and even ships’ logs, Desmond and Moore argue that only by acknowledging Darwin’s abolitionist heritage can we fully understand the development of his groundbreaking ideas. The Jefferson National Forest: An Appalachian Environmental History. Will Sarvis. 2011. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN. 379 pp. $45, hardcover. ISBN 1572338288. The highland forests of southwestern Virginia were a sacred land to Native Americans and one they relied upon for sustenance. After European contact, this beautiful country drew successive waves of settlers and visitors, and for a brief yet intense period, industrialists rapaciously exploited its timber resources, particularly in the higher elevations where the woodlands had survived the nearby valleys’ generations of agricultural use. This is the story of how various peoples have regarded this land over the centuries and how, starting in the early twentieth century, the federal government acquired 700,000 acres of it to create what is now the Jefferson National Forest (JNF). Will Sarvis’ in-depth history explores the area’s significance to such native tribes as the Cherokee and Shawnee, for whom it functioned as a buffer zone in late prehistory, and its attraction for nineteenth-century romantics who, arriving in stagecoaches, became the area’s first tourists. Aggressive commercial logging gave way to the arrival of the US Forest Service, which patched the JNF together through successive purchases of privately owned land and instituted a more regulated harvesting of various timber resources. Public support for Forest Service policy during the Depression and World War II was followed by controversies, including the use of eminent domain. In presenting this history, Sarvis probes the many complexities of land stewardship and, in analysis that is sure to spark debate, discusses how and why the JNF could abandon clear-cutting and return to traditional selective tree management. An ongoing experiment in democratic land use, the JNF contains many lessons about our relationship with the natural environment. This book delineates those lessons in a clear and compelling narrative that will be of great interest to policy makers, activists, and indeed anyone drawn to American environmental history and Appalachian studies. Ecology of the Podocarpaceae in Tropical Forests. Benjamin L. Turner and Lucas A. Cernusak (Editors). 2011. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 207 pp., softcover. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, No. 95. The emergence of angiosperms in tropical forests at the expense of the gymnosperms, their ancestral relatives, was one of the most important events in the evolutionary history of terrestrial plants. Gymnosperms were nearly eliminated from the tropics after the evolution of angiosperms in the early Cretaceous, yet conifers of the Podocarpaceae are among the few gymnosperm families that persist in tropical forests worldwide. Podocarps are often considered to be restricted to montane sites in the tropics, a feature of their biogeography that is used by paleoecologists to reconstruct past forest communities. However, podocarps also occur in the lowland tropics, where they can be the dominant component of forest canopies. Podocarps have proved to be remarkably adaptable in many cases: members of the family have a semi-aquatic lifestyle, exhibit drought tolerance and resprouting, and include the only known parasitic gymnosperm. Other intriguing aspects of podocarp physiology include the mechanism of water transport in the leaves and the conspicuous root nodules, which are not involved in nitrogen fixation but instead house arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Perhaps most surprising, paleobotanical evidence indicates that far from being “relict” members of tropical forest communities, podocarps have been dispersing into the tropics since the late Eocene epoch more than 30 million years ago. These and other aspects of the Podocarpaceae explored in this volume have far-reaching implications for understanding the ecology and evolution of tropical rain forests. Conservation, Ecology, and Management of Catfish: The Second International Symposium. Paul H. Michaletz and Vincent H. Travnichek (Editors). 2011. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 800 pp. $79, hardcover. ISBN 9781934874257. Catfish species occur worldwide and are of increasing interest to anglers, biologists, aquaculturists, aquarists, and conservationists. This book explores the incredible diversity of catfish in size, life history, and ecology. Catfish provide important sport fisheries and many chapters provide new insights on sampling, population dynamics, and management of these sport fishes. Numerous non-game species of catfish have not been wellstudied and this book supplies new information 776 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 10, No. 4 ROBERT ALLEN NORRIS, who made significant contributions to avian and plant ecology in the southeastern United States, died on 5 September 2010 in Americus, GA. Bob was a former student of Dr. Eugene P. Odum of the University of Georgia and Dr. Alden H. Miller of the University of California at Berkeley. He received the Mercer Award (1961), the oldest and most prestigious research award of the Ecological Society of America, for his research on Savannah Sparrows at what is now the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, SC. Bob’s studies and knowledge of the natural history in southwestern Georgia culminated in a herbarium collection of almost 10,000 specimens, which have been donated to Georgia Southwestern University. A more detailed description of Bob’s life and achievements, written by David W. Johnston, can be found at http://www. eaglehill.us/SENAonline/suppl-files/s10-4-RobertAllenNorris, and, for BioOne subscribers, at http://dx.doi.org/10.1656/S10-4-990.s1. The Southeastern Naturalist welcomes submissions of review copies of books that publishers or authors would like to recommend to the journal’s readership and are relevant to the journal’s mission of publishing information about the natural history of the southeastern US. Accompanying short, descriptive summaries of the text are also welcome. on several of these species, including some that are threatened by habitat degradation and other factors. Several chapters provide insights into the population dynamics and potential management strategies for nonnative catfish populations, some of which have devastated native fish fauna. Other chapters document the large variation in fish movements and habitat use in river systems both within and among catfish species. The last chapter summarizes the state of knowledge of catfish science, and identifies areas for future study. This book will be a valuable reference for anyone interested in catfish, especially those charged with studying, managing, or conserving these important species. Big Thicket Plant Ecology: An Introduction, Third Edition. Geraldine Ellis Watson. 2011. University of North Texas Press, Denton, TX. 152 pp. $14.95, softcover. ISBN 9781574412147. Originally published in 1979, Geraldine Ellis Watson’s Big Thicket Plant Ecology is now back in print. This updated edition explores the plant biology, ecology, geology, and environmental regions of the Big Thicket National Preserve. After decades of research on the Big Thicket, Watson concluded that the Big Thicket was unique for its biological diversity, due mainly to interactions of geology and climate. A visitor in the Big Thicket could look in four different directions from one spot and view scenes typical of the Appalachians, the Florida Everglades, a southwestern desert, or the pine barrens of the Carolinas. Watson covers the ecological and geological history of the Big Thicket and introduces its plant life, from Longleaf Pines and tupelo swamps to savannah wetlands and hardwood flats. The Big Thicket Guidebook: Exploring the Backroads and History of Southeast Texas. Lorraine G. Bonney. 2011. University of North Texas Press, Denton, TX. 152 pp. $29.95, hardcover. ISBN 9781574413182. Start your engines and follow the backroads, the historical paths, and the scenic landscape that were fashioned by geologic Ice Ages and traveled by Big Thicket explorers as well as contemporary park advocates—all as diverse as the Big Thicket itself. From Spanish missionaries to Jayhawkers, and from timber barons to public officials, you will meet some unusual characters who inhabited an exceptional region. The Big Thicket and its National Preserve contain plants and animals from deserts and swamps and ecosystems in between, all together in one amazing biological crossroad. The fifteen tours included with maps will take you through them all. Visitors curious about a legendary area will find this book an essential companion in their cars. Libraries will use the book as a reference to locate information on ghost towns, historic events, and National Preserve features.