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Noteworthy Books

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 14, Issue 4 (2015): B4–B5

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Southeastern Naturalist Noteworthy Books 2015 Vol. 14, No. 4 B4 Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests: An Ecological Guide to 30 Great Hikes in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. Stephanie B. Jeffries and Thomas R. Wentworth. 2014. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 336 pp., $17.06, softcover, ISBN 9781469619798. This unique hiking guide to the southern Appalachian mountains leads readers to explore the rich forest ecosystems and other natural communities visitors encounter along the trail. Drawing on years of experience guiding forest walks throughout the region, Steph Jeffries and Tom Wentworth invite hikers and nature lovers to see their surroundings in new ways. Readers will learn to decipher clues from the tree canopies, forest floor, and other natural features to appreciate more fully the environmental factors that make the southern Appalachians home to an amazing biodiversity. These 30 popular hikes in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia range from short walks along Blue Ridge Parkway pull-offs to longer day trips in the region's backcountry. Offering spectacular mountain scenery and natural wildflower gardens, these trails are the perfect place to gain a new appreciation for the natural communities of the region. Features include a summary including distance, difficulty, and GPS coordinates for each hike; a narrative description of each hike, including the unique natural features waiting to be discovered; detailed instructions to keep you on the trail; best seasons to go for wildflower and foliage views; contact information for each area; photos and maps to orient you; and an illustrated guide to southern Appalachia's most common trees and shrubs, including tips on identification. The Curious Mister Catesby: A "Truly Ingenious" Naturalist Explores New Worlds. David Elliott. 2015. The University of Georgia Press, Athens GA. 456 pp. $41.25, hardcover, ISBN 9780820347264. In 1712, English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683–1749) crossed the Atlantic to Virginia. After a 7-year stay, he returned to England with paintings of plants and animals he had studied. They sufficiently impressed other naturalists that in 1722 several Fellows of the Royal Society sponsored his return to North America. There Catesby cataloged the flora and fauna of the Carolinas and the Bahamas by gathering seeds and specimens, compiling notes, and making watercolor sketches. Going home to England after 5 years, he began the 20-year task of writing, etching, and publishing his monumental The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. Mark Catesby was a man of exceptional courage and determination combined with insatiable curiosity and multiple talents. Nevertheless no portrait of him is known. The international contributors to this volume review Catesby’s biography alongside the historical and scientific significance of his work. Ultimately, this lavishly illustrated volume advances knowledge of Catesby’s explorations, collections, artwork, and publications in order to reassess his importance within the pantheon of early naturalists. Freshwater Mussels of Florida. Gary L. Warren, James David Williams, Nathan A. Johnson, and Robert S. Butler. 2014. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL.528 pp., $49.95, hardcover, ISBN 9780817318475. An exhaustive guide to all aspects of the freshwater mussel fauna in Florida, Freshwater Mussels of Florida covers the ecology, biology, distribution, and conservation of the many species of bivalve mollusks in the Sunshine State. In the past three decades, researchers, the public, businesses that depend on wildlife, and policy makers have given more attention to the threatened natural diversity of the Southeast, including freshwater mussels. This compendium meets the increasingly urgent need to catalog this imperiled group of aquatic organisms in the United States. Each entry in this definitive guide provides a detailed description and multiple depictions of the species as well as select characteristics of its soft anatomy and miscellaneous notes of interest. Individual distribution maps pinpoint the historical and present occurrence of each bivalve species and are just one component of the rich set of 307 mussel and habitat photographs, 74 maps, and 13 tables that illustrate the book. Of particular interest are remarkable electron micrographs of glochidia, the specialized larval life-history stage parasitic upon fishes. Freshwater Mussels of Florida will be of lasting value to state and federal conservation agencies as well as other government and nongovernment entities that manage aquatic resources in Florida. The research provides a key baseline for future study of Florida mussels. The survey results in this guide, along with extensive reviews of historical mussel collections in natural history museums, provide a complete picture of the Florida mussel fauna, past and present. Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 14/4, 2015 Southeastern Naturalist B5 Noteworthy Books 2015 Vol. 14, No. 4 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. The Leatherback Turtle: Biology and Conservation Edited by James R. Spotila and Pilar Santidrian Tomillo. 2015. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 246 pp., $70.00, hardcover, ISBN 9781421417080. Weighing as much as 2000 pounds and reaching lengths of over 7 feet, Leatherback Turtles are the world’s largest reptile. These unusual sea turtles have a thick, pliable shell that helps them to withstand great depths—they can swim more than 1000 m below the surface in search of food. And what food source sustains these goliaths? Their diet consists almost exclusively of jellyfish, a meal they crisscross the oceans to find. Leatherbacks have been declining in recent decades, and some predict they will be gone by the end of this century. Why? Because of two primary factors: human redevelopment of nesting beaches and commercial fishing. There are only 29 index beaches in the world where these turtles nest, and there is immense pressure to develop most of them into homes or resorts. At the same time, long-line and gill-net fisheries continue to overwhelm waters frequented by Leatherbacks. In The Leatherback Turtle, Spotila and Tomillo bring together the world’s leading experts to produce a volume that reveals the biology of the Leatherback while putting a spotlight on the conservation problems and solutions related to the species. The book leaves us with options: embark on the conservation strategy laid out within its pages and save one of nature’s most splendid creations, or watch yet another magnificent species disappear. The Slain Wood: Papermaking and its Environmental Consequences in the American South. William Boyd. 2015. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD. 350 p., $55.00, hardcover, ISBN 9781421418780. When the paper industry moved into the South in the 1930s, it confronted a region in the midst of an economic and environmental crisis. Entrenched poverty, stunted labor markets, vast stretches of cutover lands, and severe soil erosion prevailed across the southern states. By the middle of the 20th century, however, pine trees had become the region’s number one cash crop, and the South dominated national and international production of pulp and paper based on the intensive cultivation of timber. In The Slain Wood, William Boyd chronicles this dramatic growth of the pulp and paper industry in the American South and the social and environmental changes that accompanied it. Drawing on extensive interviews and historical research, he tells the fascinating story of one of the region’s most important but understudied industries. The Slain Wood reveals how a thoroughly industrialized forest was created out of a degraded landscape, uncovers the ways in which firms tapped into informal labor markets and existing inequalities of race and class to fashion a system for delivering wood to the mills, investigates the challenges of managing large papermaking complexes, and details the ways in which mill managers and unions discriminated against black workers. It also shows how the industry’s massive pollution loads significantly disrupted local environments and communities, leading to a long struggle to regulate and control that pollution. The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature's Phoenix. Dominick A. DellaSala and Chad T. Hanson. 2015. Elsevier Science, Maryland Heights, MO. 450 pp., $89.95, soft cover, ISBN9780128027493. This new book presents information on the current paradigm shift in the way people think about wildfire and ecosystems. While much of the current forest management in fire-adapted ecosystems, especially forests, is focused on fire prevention and suppression, little has been reported on the ecological role of fire, and nothing has been presented on the importance of high-severity fire with regards to the maintenance of native biodiversity and fire-dependent ecosystems and species. This text fills that void, providing a comprehensive reference for documenting and synthesizing fire’s ecological role. It offers the first reference written on mixed- and high-severity fires and their relevance for biodiversity; contains a broad synthesis of the ecology of mixed- and high-severity fires covering such topics as vegetation, birds, mammals, insects, aquatics, and management actions; and explores the conservation vs. public controversy issues around megafires in a rapidly warming world.