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Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 12, Number 1, 2013

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 12, Issue 1 (2013): 248–250

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248 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 12, No. 1 Your Florida Guide to Shrubs: Selection, Establishment, and Maintenance, Second Edition. Edward F. Gilman, Robert J. Black, and Sydney Park Brown. 2013. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 256 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813042442. No other book offers such colorful, complete, and reliable information about all aspects of selecting, growing, and maintaining the shrubs and small trees that thrive in the Florida landscape. Written for everyone from the homeowner with limited gardening skills to the landscape professional or property manager, the new edition of this photofilled guide includes a hardiness-zone map and all the information you need to help create a beautiful landscape! Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife. Craig N. Huegel. 2010. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 336 pp. $24.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813034942. Floridians share their state with a wide and unique array of wildlife. Unfortunately, commercially developed subdivisions and landscapes often do not provide welcoming habitats for the majority of the native fauna. Attract wildlife back to your yard with this clear, practical guide. Ecologist and consultant Craig Huegel draws on his considerable experience as both a gardener and a professional wildlife biologist to explain how anyone can easily create an attractive landscape plan that is also an inviting habitat for wild animals. He provides specific information on the wildlife value of approximately 150 native trees and shrubs and gives clear and precise direction on incorporating each into your garden. Featuring nearly 200 brilliant color photos, Huegel’s guide will help you to identify and select the plants you need—no matter where you live in Florida. Whether you want to invite birds, deer, rabbits, frogs, turtles, or foxes, transforming your yard into a sustainable, wildlife-friendly environment won’t require difficult or dramatic changes. Pick up this handy and inspiring book today and discover how easy it is to redevelop any landscape into an attractive habitat for wildlife. The Everglades: An Environmental History. David McCally. 2000. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 240 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813016481. This important work for 248 general readers and environmentalists alike offers the first major discussion of the formation, development, and history of the Everglades, considered by many to be the most endangered ecosystem in North America. Comprehensive in scope, it begins with South Florida's geologic origins—before the Everglades became wetlands— and continues through the 20th century, when sugar reigned as king of the Everglades agricultural area. Urging restoration of the Everglades, McCally argues that agriculture, especially sugar growing, must be abandoned or altered. Sure to be influential in all discussions of Florida’s future, The Everglades also will be significant for environmentalists focused on any area of North America. The Windward Road, Revised Edition. Archie Carr. 2013. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 320 pp. $19.95, softcover. ISBN 9780813044842. Originally published in 1956, The Windward Road helped set in motion a movement to protect sea turtles that spread throughout the world and remains strong today. Archie Carr’s unmatched style of nature writing, accessible to experienced naturalists and laypersons alike, explores some of nature’s darkest mysteries with humor and much delight. His delightful stories of exploring the Caribbean while researching green turtles brings to life his deep passion for the people and biological diversity of the tropics. Texas Waterfowl. William P. Johnson and Mark W. Lockwood. 2013. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 192 pp. $25.00, softcover. ISBN 9781603448079. In this beautifully illustrated guide, two practicing wildlife biologists describe the life histories of forty-five species of ducks, geese, and swans that occur in Texas. For common species and those that breed in the state, each account begins with an interesting fact (such as, “Red-breasted Mergansers have been clocked at over 80 mph, the fastest recorded flight speed for a duck . . .”) and provides information on Texas distribution and harvest, population status, diet, range and habitats, reproduction, and appearance. Exquisite photographs, informative distribution maps, and a helpful source list accompany the species descriptions, and the book offers a glossary and full bibliography for those who want to explore Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 12/1, 2013 2013 Noteworthy Books 249 the literature further. With the degradation and disappearance of the inland and coastal habitats that these birds depend upon, the natural history of these waterfowl species provides a vital reminder of the interconnectedness and crucial importance of all wetlands. Birders, biologists, landowners, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and all those interested in the health and preservation of our coastal and inland wetland resources will enjoy and learn from this book. Wildlife Watching in America’s National Parks: A Seasonal Guide. Gary W. Vequist and Daniel S. Licht. 2013. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 244 pp. $25.00, softcover. ISBN 9781603448147. From the Great Smoky Mountains to Point Reyes National Seashore, America’s national parks are home to some of nature’s great wildlife spectacles. Here, Gary W. Vequist and Daniel S. Licht, two veterans of the National Park Service, focus on twelve animals that have been imperiled and at risk, but are now protected within the National Park System. Showcasing one species for each month of the year, including Gray Wolf, Black Bear, Prairie Dog, sea turtle, Bison, bats, salmon, Elk, Beaver, American Alligator, Gray Whale, and Bald Eagle, Vequist and Licht pair each premier species with a featured park, adding information about other parks where the species may also be readily seen and identifying other animals to look for in the same habitat—animals that prey, are preyed upon, or exist side by side with the focal species. Beyond being a guide to observing these remarkable animals, Wildlife Watching in America’s National Parks, as the title implies, is also a book about America’s national parks. Reminding Americans why national parks are truly our “best idea” and encouraging readers to go find out why, these career wildlife specialists stress that it is “impossible to fathom America without these animals and without the parks in which they reside.” Nature lovers, travelers, and outdoor hobbyists of all types will be enthralled by this inside view of America’s wildlife and the breathtaking photographs of places they inhabit. The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. James C. Lendemer, Richard C. Harris, and Erin A. Tripp. 2013. The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY. 164 pp. $55.00, hardcover. ISBN 9780893275211. Like the Great Smoky Mountains themselves, much about the lichens of the Smokies has remained shrouded in mystery. This book sheds considerable light on the diversity of these intriguing organisms in the Smokies, a diversity that is unmatched in any other American national park. Written by three of this country’s foremost lichen specialists and based on their extensive field and herbarium studies, this book is a comprehensive summary of current knowledge of the lichen biota of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Geckos: The Animal Answer Guide. Aaron M. Bauer. 2013. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 192 pp. $26.95, softcover. ISBN 9781421408538. Discover the biology, natural history, and diversity of geckos— the acrobatic little lizards made famous by a car insurance ad campaign. Lizard biologist and gecko expert Aaron Bauer answers deceptively simple questions with surprising and little-known facts. Readers can explore color photographs that reveal the natural wonder and beauty of the gecko form and are further informed by images of how geckos live in their natural habitats. Although written for nonexperts, Geckos also provides a carefully selected bibliography and a new list of all known species that will be of interest to herpetologists. Anyone who owns a gecko, has seen them in the wild, or has wondered about them will appreciate this gem of a book. The Natural Communities of Georgia. Leslie Edwards, Jonathan Ambrose, and L. Katherine Kirkman with photographs by Hugh and Carol Nourse. 2013. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 704 pp. $59.95, hardcover. ISBN 9780820330211. The Natural Communities of Georgia presents a comprehensive overview of the state’s natural landscapes, providing an ecological context to enhance understanding of this region’s natural history. Georgia boasts an impressive range of natural communities, assemblages of interacting species that have either been minimally impacted by modern human activities or have successfully recovered from them. This guide makes the case that identifying these distinctive communities and the factors that determine their distribution are central to understanding Georgia’s ecological diversity and the steps necessary for its conservation. Within Georgia’s five major ecoregions the editors identify and describe a total of sixty-six natural communities, such as the expansive salt 250 Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 12, No. 1 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. marshes of the barrier islands in the Maritime ecoregion, the fire-driven Longleaf Pine woodlands of the Coastal Plain, the beautiful granite outcrops of the Piedmont, the rare prairies of the Ridge and Valley, and the diverse coves of the Blue Ridge. With contributions from scientists who have managed, researched, and written about Georgia landscapes for decades, the guide features more than four hundred color photographs that reveal the stunning natural beauty and diversity of the state. The book also explores conservation issues, including rare or declining species, current and future threats to specific areas, and research needs, and provides land management strategies for preserving, restoring, and maintaining biotic communities. The Natural Communities of Georgia is an essential reference for ecologists and other scientists, as well as a rich resource for Georgians interested in the region’s natural heritage. Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation. Reed F. Noss. 2012. Island Press, Washington, DC. 320 pp. $35, softcover. ISBN 9781597264891. Forgotten Grasslands of the South is a literary and scientific case study of some of the biologically richest and most endangered ecosystems in North America. Eminent ecologist Reed Noss tells the story of how southern grasslands arose and persisted over time and addresses questions that are fundamental for conserving these vital yet poorly understood ecosystems. The author examines the natural history of southern grasslands, their origin and history (geologic, vegetation, and human), biological hotspots and endangered ecosystems, and physical determinants of grassland distribution, including ecology, soils, landform, and hydrology fire, herbivores, and ecological interactions. The final chapter presents a general conservation strategy for southern grasslands, including prioritization, protection, restoration, and management. Also included are examples of ongoing restoration projects, along with a prognosis for the future. In addition to offering fascinating new information about these little-studied ecosystems, Noss demonstrates how natural history is central to the practice of conservation. Natural history has been on a declining trajectory for decades, as theory and experimentation have dominated the field of ecology. Ecologists are coming to realize that these divergent approaches are in fact complementary, and that pursuing them together can bring greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works and how we can best conserve it. Forgotten Grasslands of the South explores the overarching importance of ecological processes in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and is the first book of its kind to apply natural history, in a modern, comprehensive sense, to the conservation of biodiversity across a broad region. It sets a new standard for scientific literature and is essential reading not only for those who study and work to conserve the grasslands of the South but also for everyone who is fascinated by the natural world.