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Noteworthy Books

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 16, Issue 2 (2017)

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Southeastern Naturalist B1 Noteworthy Books 2017 Vol. 16, No. 2 Amphibians and Reptiles of Land Between the Lakes. David H. Snyder, A. Floyd Scott, Edmund J. Zimmerer, and David Frymire. 2016. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 160 pp. $24.95, Softcover. ISBN 9780813167671. Known for its natural beauty, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is the largest inland peninsula in the US. More than 1.4 million nature lovers annually visit its 170,000 acres of forested and protected public land between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. This richly diverse ecosystem is home to underappreciated but fascinating creatures. The authors offer detailed descriptions and stunning color photographs of salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, and snakes, some native only to this region of the world. Whether you are a professional or backyard naturalist, this handy reference offers an indispensable resource for understanding the ecological effect they have on the habitats in which they thrive. Florida’s Crocodile: Biology and History of a Threatened Species. Charles LeBuff. 2017. Amber Publishing, Fort Meyers, FL. 157 pp. $7.95, Softcover. ISBN 9780962501364. Today, about 2000 wild American Crocodiles remain in Florida. This book is the first comprehensive examination of their biology, life history, and interaction with humans in the state. It is a wellillustrated and factual book that is complete in every respect. The text is interspersed with interesting anecdotes about the American Crocodile and, its more abundant relative, the American Alligator. Florida’s Crocodile documents their century-long decline and recent ongoing recovery. The devastating exploits of America’s infamous “Crocodile Hunter” are recounted in this book. Detailed information on what once was advertised along highways in South Florida as “the world’s largest collection of Florida crocodiles” brings a unique perspective. The crocodile’s growth, senses, salt-tolerance, reproduction, prey, longevity, size, temperature-tolerance, and this unique reptile’s geographic range are among the diverse elements that are included in the easy to read text. Samples among the 15 chapters are: Living Crocodilians of the World; The Alligator and the Crocodile in Florida, Crocodile Commonality, An Overview of the American Crocodile’s Historical Presence in Florida, America’s Crocodile Hunter, The Range of the American Crocodile in Florida, Reproduction, Eggs, Incubation, and Temperature, and Dangerous Crocodilians. This book is a must-read for biologists, naturalists, and others who are interested in the unique and rare fauna of South Florida. The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945. J.R. McNeill and Peter Engelke. 2016. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. London, UK. 288 pp. $19.95, Softcover. ISBN 978067454038. The Great Acceleration presents the full text of J.R. McNeill and Peter Engelke's contribution to Global Interdependence: The World after 1945, the sixth volume of A History of the World. Since the mid-20th century, the accelerating pace of energy use, greenhouse-gas emissions, and population growth has thrust the planet into a massive uncontrolled experiment. The book explains its causes and consequences, highlighting the role of energy systems, as well as trends in climate change, urbanization, and environmentalism. Before 1700, people used very little fossil fuel; over the next two hundred years coal became the most important energy source. When oil entered the picture, the two fuels soon accounted for 75 percent of human energy use. We are now living in the Anthropocene. The period from 1945 to the present is the most anomalous period in the history of humanity’s relationship with the biosphere. Three-quarters of the carbon dioxide humans have contributed to the atmosphere has accumulated since World War II ended, and the number of people on Earth has nearly tripled. So far, humans have dramatically altered the planet’s biogeochemical systems without consciously managing them. If we try to control these systems through geoengineering, we will inaugurate another stage of the Anthropocene. Where it might lead, no one can say for sure. Noteworthy Books Received by the Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 16/2, 2017 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.