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The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife
     

The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

by Donald M. Waller
 

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Straddling temperate forests and grassland biomes and stretching along the coastline of two Great Lakes, Wisconsin contains tallgrass prairie and oak savanna, broadleaf and coniferous forests, wetlands, natural lakes, and rivers. But, like the rest of the world, the Badger State has been transformed by urbanization and sprawl, population growth, and land-use change.

Overview

Straddling temperate forests and grassland biomes and stretching along the coastline of two Great Lakes, Wisconsin contains tallgrass prairie and oak savanna, broadleaf and coniferous forests, wetlands, natural lakes, and rivers. But, like the rest of the world, the Badger State has been transformed by urbanization and sprawl, population growth, and land-use change. For decades, industry and environment have attempted to coexist in Wisconsin—and the dynamic tensions between economic progress and environmental protection makes the state a fascinating microcosm for studying global environmental change.
The Vanishing Present brings together a distinguished set of contributors—including scientists, naturalists, and policy experts—to examine how human pressures on Wisconsin’s changing lands, waters, and wildlife have redefined the state’s ecology. Though they focus on just one state, the authors draw conclusions about changes in temperate habitats that can be applied elsewhere, and offer useful insights into future of the ecology, conservation, and sustainability of Wisconsin and beyond.
A fitting tribute to the home state of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, The Vanishing Present is an accessible and timely case study of a significant ecosystem and its response to environmental change.

Editorial Reviews

Open Spaces
If you read one inspiring book in 2008, it should be the timely and significant new volume edited by Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney, entitled The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin’s Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife. As I read essays from fifty different scientists about biotic diversity from lichens to lakes, it was like being inside the neck of an hourglass, with the ability to look backward and forward. Just as an hourglass measures the passage of time, The Vanishing Present gives the reader an historical understanding of Wisconsin’s ecology, and the marked transformation it is presently experiencing as well as future impacts.

— Edith M. Kadlec

Quarterly Review of Biology
Every ecologist, land manager or policymaker in Wisconsin and adjacent areas will this book essential; those living in other parts of the world will wish they had something like it.

— Lee E. Frelich

Northeastern Naturalist
"The Vanishing Present brings together a distinguished set of contributors . . . to examine how human pressures on Wisconsin's changing lands, waters, and wildlife have redefined the state's ecology. . . . . The authors draw conclusions about changes in temperate habitats that can be applied elsewhere, and offer useful insights into the future of the ecology, conservation, and sustainibility of Wisconsin and beyond."
John Terborgh
“Our cultural obsession with unlimited growth has a dark side and that is the inexorable environmental deterioration that accompanies economic expansion. Habitat destruction is obvious, but less obvious human interventions such as pollution, fire suppression, overabundant deer, and changes in forestry and agricultural practices all extract a price in lost biodiversity. Each disturbing chapter of this retrospective on Wisconsin’s priceless natural heritage is a reminder of how far we are as a society from achieving the nirvana of sustainable development.”
Dave Foreman
“Ecology is a historical science—or should be, for we can’t understand the present or the future without some understanding of the past. In The Vanishing Present, Donald Waller and Thomas Rooney have put up a trail sign on where ecological overviews need to go. In conceiving and building this anthology, Waller and Rooney show that they are not just top-notch biologists, but rare visionaries, too.  Every region of North America needs such a work, not only in scope but in quality as well.”

David Foster

“Written by a collection of the world’s great ecologists, geographers, and wildlife biologists, The Vanishing Present provides an insightful and comprehensive synthesis of the natural and human history of the Wisconsin landscape. By applying an informed historical perspective to interpret the present and anticipate the future of this one region the authors address ecological questions and tackle conservation challenges that are of universal importance. This accessibly written and well-edited volume should be of great interest to professionals, students, and a broad readership interested in understanding the past changes in nature and conserving its many values into the future.”

Harold C. Jordahl
“Don’t just read this book. Read it and do something about our environmental future. Fifty scientists share their knowledge of Wisconsin’s historical past, provide a contemporary view of a dynamic and changing present, and, lacking action, sketch an impoverished future. Study their insights to learn how we can modify our behavior. Join with them in the critical efforts to ensure our ecological health as they state, we owe it our state’s and our children’s future.”

Open Spaces - Edith M. Kadlec
"If you read one inspiring book in 2008, it should be the timely and significant new volume edited by Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney, entitled The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin’s Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife. As I read essays from fifty different scientists about biotic diversity from lichens to lakes, it was like being inside the neck of an hourglass, with the ability to look backward and forward. Just as an hourglass measures the passage of time, The Vanishing Present gives the reader an historical understanding of Wisconsin’s ecology, and the marked transformation it is presently experiencing as well as future impacts."

Quarterly Review of Biology - Lee E. Frelich
"Every ecologist, land manager or policymaker in Wisconsin and adjacent areas will this book essential; those living in other parts of the world will wish they had something like it."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226871745
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
08/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
522
Sales rank:
1,222,775
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Donald Waller is professor of botany and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Thomas Rooney is assistant professor of biological sciences at Wright State University.

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