Introduction to Earth, Soil, and Land in California / Edition 1

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Overview


Following his acclaimed guides to air, fire, and water, David Carle now offers a fascinating exploration of one more primary element of the natural world—the land beneath our feet. From earthworms and earthquakes to Earth Day, this concise, engaging guide is a multifaceted primer on the literal foundation of California’s environment. Carle tells how soil ecosystems function, discusses what lives in the soil, and examines various soil types. He then turns to the relationship between humans and the land, and investigates the various uses and abuses that land in California endures: large scale agriculture, mining, and development, as well as fires, floods, and erosion. The guide also details the history of land use in the state, making it an essential resource for understanding our total reliance on soil, the marvelous substrate that is the basis of life.

• Covers the entire state, including California’s wildlands, farmland, cities, and landfills

• Assesses California’s ecological footprint on planet Earth

• Discusses many different life forms found in soil, including bacteria, fungi, insects, and mammals

• Features 92 color photographs and 18 maps

A book in the Californians and Their Environment subseries, dedicated to understanding human influences on the state's ecology and natural resources

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating look at the land in California. . . . He explains how this amazing ecosystem functions, and he does it in an understandable way. There are lots of photographs that bring a potentially very dull subject to life. Carle has written guides on air, fire and water. His work goes on my recommended list."--Fresno Bee, Earth Log
Earth Log Fresno Bee

“A fascinating look at the land in California. . . . He explains how this amazing ecosystem functions, and he does it in an understandable way. There are lots of photographs that bring a potentially very dull subject to life. Carle has written guides on air, fire and water. His work goes on my recommended list.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520266810
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2010
  • Series: California Natural History Guides Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 994,664
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author


David Carle worked as a California State Park ranger for twenty-seven years. His books include Introduction to Water in California, Introduction to Air in California, and Introduction to Fire in California, all from UC Press.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Ecosystems Beneath our Feet 1

Soil Profiles and Categories 3

Cities in the Soil 20

Soil Respiration: The Carbon Cycle, 22

Soil Respiration: The Nitrogen Cycle, 25

Decomposition, 27

Decomposers, Partners, and Parasites 30

Bacteria, 30

Fungi, 31

Biocrusts 34

Shredders, Grazers, and Predators 36

Protozoans, 36

Mites, 37

Springtails, 38

Nematodes, 40

Earthworms, 42

Sidebar: Vermiculture, 45

Ants, 47

Termites, 49

Pill Bugs, 50

Millipedes, 51

Dung Beetles, 51

Snails and Slugs, 52

Higher-Level Predators 54

Antlions, 54

Scorpions, 55

Centipedes, 55

Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders, 55

Spider Wasps, 57

Yellowjacket Wasps, 58

Burrowers for Shelter and Food 59

Spadefoot Toads and Cicadas, 59

Desert Tortoise, 61

Moles and Gophers, 62

Ground Squirrels, 64

Badgers, 65

Bank Swallows, 66

Burrowing Owls, 67

The Human Footprint On California Land 71

Lines on the Land 76

The Other Grid System, 79

Harvesting Wealth from the Earth 83

"They Treated Soil Like Dirt," 85

"Land" Becomes "Real Estate," 89

Wild Land 97

Fire and Soil 101

Wildland Management 104

"Protect, Restore, Maintain, and Sustain" (State Parks), 105

"Habitats upon Which They Depend" (Fish & Game), 108

"Unimpaired for... Future Generations" (National Parks), 109

"Land of Many Uses" (USDA Forest Service), 111

"Management, Protection, Development and Enhancement" (Bureau of Land Management), 112

"Understand, Appreciate, and Wisely Use" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife), 114

"Stewardship Responsibilities" (Department of Defense), 115

"Where Man Himself Is a Visitor" (Wilderness Areas), 116

"Embrace Life!" (Local Parks), 117

"A Beautiful, Restored, and Accessible Coastline" (Commissions and Conservancies), 119

"Legacy Projects" (Nongovernmental Organizations), 121

Who Owns All That Ranch Land? 122

Untamed Land 128

Earthquakes, 128

Volcanoes, 137

Landslides, 141

Reality Checks, 143

The Living Soil Made My Lunch 147

Why Farmlands Matter 149

Dirt First! 157

Preventing Erosion, 162

Manufactured Fertilizers, 162

Sidebar: Homemade Soil, 164

Thirsty Farmlands, 166

Death by a Thousand Cuts 168

Preservation Planning, 171

The End of Agriculture? 173

Walking Softly: California's Footprint On The Earth 177

Mount Trashmores 179

Ecological Footprints 181

Compassionate Numbers 185

From Earthworms to Earth Day 190

Online Resources 193

References 197

Art Credits 205

Additional Captions 209

Index 211

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