Rocky Mountain Futures: An Ecological Perspective / Edition 1

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The Rocky Mountain West is largely arid and steep, with ecological scars from past human use visible for hundreds of years. Just how damaging were the past 150 years of activity? How do current rates of disturbance compare with past mining, grazing, and water diversion activities? In the face of constant change, what constitutes a "natural" ecosystem? And can a high quality of life be achieved for both human and natural communities in this region.

Rocky Mountain Futures presents a comprehensive and wide-ranging examination of the ecological consequences of past, current, and future human activities in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States and Canada. The book brings together 32 leading ecologists, geographers, and other scientists and researchers to present an objective assessment of the cumulative effects of human activity on the region's ecological health and to consider changes wrought by past human use. This combined view of past and present reveals where Rocky Mountain ecosystems are heading, and the authors project what the future holds based upon current economic and social trends and the patterns that emerge from them. The book:•examines the biogeographic and paleoenvironmental setting and historical climate that have shaped Rocky Mountain ecosystems•traces the direct human influences on landscapes and ecosystems over the past 150 years•explores the cumulative effects of past, present, and projected future human activities on tundra, subalpine and montane forests, valleys, grasslands, and waters•offers case studies that illustrate specific examples of human influence and current efforts to restore the environment Case studies focus on northern New Mexico; Summit County, Colorado; Flathead Valley, Montana; and Alberta, Canada. Among the contributors are Craig D. Allen, N. Thompson Hobbs, Linda L. Joyce, Robert E. Keane, David Schindler, Timothy R. Seastedt, David Theobald, Diana Tomback, William Travis, Cathy Whitlock, and Jack Stanford.

The United Nations has proclaimed 2002 as the International Year of Mountains to increase international awareness of the global importance of mountain ecosystems. The case-based multidisciplinary approach of this book constitutes an important new model for understanding the implications of land-use practices and economic activity on mountains, and will serve a vital role in improving decisionmaking both in the Rocky Mountains and in other parts of the world that face similar challenges.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Ecologists, geographers, and other scientists and researchers assess the cumulative effects of human activity on the Rocky Mountain region's ecological health, consider changes wrought by past human use, and project what the future holds based on current economic and social trends. They describe the region's biogeography, paleoenvironmental setting, and historical climate, then trace the region's history of use from an ecological perspective. Case studies illustrate specific examples of human influence in the US and Canada. Baron is an ecosystem ecologist with the US Geological Survey. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559639545
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill S. Baron is ecosystem ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. The author of Human Natures, The Population Bomb, and many other books, as well as hundreds of papers, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of numerous international honors, including the Crafoord Prize, an explicit substitute for the Nobel Prize in fields of science where the latter is not given.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Plates
List of Tables
List of Boxes
Foreword \ Paul R. Ehrlich
Chapter 1. Transforming the Rockies: Human Forces, Settlement Patterns, and Ecosystem Effects

PART I. The Background of Environmental Change
Chapter 2. Geomorphic and Biogeographic Setting of the Rocky Mountains
Chapter 3. Paleoenvironmental History of the Rocky Mountain Region during the Past 20,000 Years
Chapter 4. Climates of the Rocky Mountains: Historical and Future Patterns
PART II. Human-Driven Changes to Rocky Mountain Landscapes
Chapter 5. Natural Resource Extraction: Past, Present, and Future
Chapter 6. Ecological Effects of Resource Development in Running Waters
Chapter 7. The Cascading Effects of Fire Exclusion in Rocky Mountain Ecosystems
Chapter 8. Rocky Road in the Rockies: Challenges to Biodiversity 
PART III. Synthesis of Human Influences on Different Ecological Zones
Chapter 9. Islands in the Sky: Alpine and Treeline Ecosystems of the Rockies
Chapter 10.The Heart of the Rockies: Montane and Subalpine Ecosystems
Chapter 11. Base Camps of the Rockies: The Intermountain Grasslands
PART IV. Case Studies
Chapter 12.Rumblings in Rio Arriba: Landscape Changes in the Southern Rocky Mountains of Northern New Mexico
Chapter 13.Collaborative Development of a Conservation Planning System: A Case Study of Summit County, Colorado
Chapter 14. Natural and Cultural Influences on Ecosystem Processes in the Flathead River Basin (Montana and British Columbia)
Chapter 15.The Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies: Must We Follow the American Blueprint?
Conclusion: Rocky Mountain Futures: Forecasting a Future We Do Not Want
About the Authors

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