Konza Prairie (Pb)

Overview

Slightly over a century ago, the tallgrass prairie in North America stretched over most of what is now Iowa, Illinois, southern Minnesota, northern Missouri, and the eastern edges of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Today, only a few scattered patches—less than one percent—remain of the endless, flat, silent land that greeted the pioneers and finally fell to their plows. Konza, an area of over 8,600 acres in the Flint Hills in Kansas, is the largest remaining ...

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Overview

Slightly over a century ago, the tallgrass prairie in North America stretched over most of what is now Iowa, Illinois, southern Minnesota, northern Missouri, and the eastern edges of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Today, only a few scattered patches—less than one percent—remain of the endless, flat, silent land that greeted the pioneers and finally fell to their plows. Konza, an area of over 8,600 acres in the Flint Hills in Kansas, is the largest remaining undisturbed tract of tallgrass prairie in the nation.

Konza Prairie is the extraordinary and often lyrical story of this tallgrass ecosystem. Biologist O.J. Reichman, a compelling writer, vividly portrays this often poorly understood environment as a living laboratory where organisms—from monarch butterflies to the striking big bluestem grass itself—interact with the physical world of the prairie.

In separate chapters, Reichman provides an absorbing natural-history introduction to such topics as the tallgrass ecosystem; the dynamic geological processes which created the seemingly placid prairie; and the many inhabitants of the prairie, from plants and insects to birds, reptiles, and mammals. Interspersed with this central text are informative sections (set off by italics) about the processes taking place, among them Evolution, the role of photosynthesis; fire; patterns of weather; and competition among organisms. Finally, Reichman describes what is being done to preserve the prairie and provides an extensive listing of the common and scientific names of organisms mentioned in the text.

Beautifully written and illustrated with color photographs, line drawings, and maps, Konza Prairie is an excellent introduction to a little-known ecosystem—and is superb national history.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Highly recommended for both the layperson and the student interested in learning something of the history of this vanishing resource.
Environment
Through fascinating descriptions the prairie comes alive.
Missouri Prairie Journal
The best thing about this book is that it makes ecology so readable.
Prairie Naturalist
This clear, well-written portrait gives the reader a greater appreciation of the history, dynamics, complexity, and beauty of the prairie.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700604500
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 12/1/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Acknowledgments

A Note about Konza Prairie

1. An Introduction to Konza and Other Grasslands

To Konza and Other Grasslands

2. Origins

Evolution

3. Patterns and Patches

Disturbance

4. Grasslands

Photosynthesis

Fire

5. Forests

Foraging

6. Soil and the Belowground Habitat

Cycles

7. Streams

Competition

8. Patterns in Time

Weather on the Konza

9. Konza Today

Common and Scientific Names

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    A very thorough and enjoyable look at tall-grass ecology.

    I first read "Konza Prairie" in the late 1980's and was impressed with both its level of detail and the ease with which I could read and understand it. Wanting to replace a lost copy of my own, I was very happy to find it's still available. The thoughtful organization of the text eases the reader into the ecology of North American prairies, beginning with how the Konza came to be from prehistory through to human settlement of the region. It then begins laying out the various members of the ecosystem and how they interact. A fine series of line drawings, along with helpful color photographs, supplements some of the best nature or science writing I've ever read. Anyone who is interested in any aspect of ecology or nature should read this book!

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