The World of Northern Evergreens


Praise for the first edition—

"This book is guaranteed to enrich the reader's next forest visit."—Library Journal

"Pielou's book brings forest ecology to naturalists, bird lovers, hikers, cyclists, canoeists, skiers, mountaineers, and back-country campers."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"It is E. C. Pielou's contention that evergreen forests . . . are taken for granted and rarely well understood. To remedy this, the distinguished biogeographer has...

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Praise for the first edition—

"This book is guaranteed to enrich the reader's next forest visit."—Library Journal

"Pielou's book brings forest ecology to naturalists, bird lovers, hikers, cyclists, canoeists, skiers, mountaineers, and back-country campers."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"It is E. C. Pielou's contention that evergreen forests . . . are taken for granted and rarely well understood. To remedy this, the distinguished biogeographer has written a book focusing on the northern evergreen forests. This is a book that many naturalists, both novice and experienced, will read with pleasure and interest."—Canadian Field-Naturalist

"Pielou makes a strong, irrefutable, case for the preservation of old-growth forests and wilderness. Anyone who appreciates the outdoors should have this book and take its message to heart."—Forest Planning Canada

Global warming and human-driven impacts from logging, natural gas drilling, mining of oil sands, and the development of hydropower increasingly threaten North America's northern forests. These forests are far from being a uniform environment; close inspection reveals that the conifers that thrive there—pines, larches, spruces, hemlocks, firs, Douglas-firs, arborvitaes, false-cypresses, junipers, and yews—support a varied and complex ecosystem. In The World of Northern Evergreens, the noted ecologist E. C. Pielou introduces the biology of the northern forests and provides a unique invitation to naturalists, ecologists, foresters, and everyone living in northern North America who wants to learn about this unique and threatened northern world and the species that make it their home.

Through identification keys, descriptions, and life histories of the conifer tree species, the author emphasizes how different these plants are both biologically and evolutionarily from the hardwoods we also call "trees." Following this introduction to the essential conifers, the author's perceptive insights expand to include the interactions of conifers with other plants, fungi, mammals, birds, and amphibians.

The second edition, enriched by new illustrations by the author of woodland features and creatures, updates the text to include new topics including mycorrhizal fungi, soil, woodlice, bats, and invasive insects such as the hemlock woolly adelgid. Emphasis is given to the very real human-driven impacts that threaten the species that live in and depend on the vital and complex forest ecosystem. Pielou provides us with a rich understanding of the northern forests in this work praised for its nontechnical presentation, scientific objectivity, and original illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This handy paperback is not really a classical field guide in the sense of having color plant identification photos with telegraphic descriptions and a waterproof binding. No, it is meant for those who yearn for a more holistic view of the northern evergreen forest and want to see both the forest and the trees."—Carole T. Gee, Plant Science Bulletin (Summer 2013)

Library Journal
This volume will acquaint the reader with the ten groups of North American conifers above 45 degrees north latitude and point out some fascinating things about them. It describes all species in the area and provides easy- to-use keys. Written in clear, nontechnical language, the text is brimming with interesting information on the intricacies of coniferous life, including reproduction; the specialized parasitic plants, fungi, and insects that attack them; broad-leaved companions; and the origin of the evergreen forests. This book is guaranteed to enrich the reader's next forest visit. Annette Aiello, Smithsonian Tropical Research Inst., Panama
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801477409
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 956,525
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

E. C. Pielou is the author of several books, including After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America, A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic, Fresh Water, Mathematical Ecology, Biogeography, and The Energy of Nature.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition

1. Origin of the Evergreen Forests
Conifers and the Ice Age – The Advantages of Being Evergreen – The Advantages of Long-Lived Leaves – Enduring the Cold

2. Identifying the Conifers
How Plants (Including Trees) Are Classified – The Ten Genera – The Thirty-Two Species – Conifer Families

3. Reproduction of Conifers
Pollen Cones and Pollen – Pollination – A Contrast between Seed Cones and Pollen Cones – Vegetative Reproduction

4. The Life and Growth of a Conifer
Wood – Cut Stumps and Whole Trees – Outside the Cambium – Leaves – Roots

5. Broadleafs Growing among the Conifers
Broadleafs in a Harsh Climate – Poplars – Birches – Alders

6. Two Kinds of Trees: Conifers and Broadleafs
The Ancestry of "Trees" – The Basic Difference between Conifers and Broadleafs – Gymnosperms Are Woody – The Speed of Living – The Architecture of Trees – Vegetative Reproduction – The Aroma of Conifers

7. Life on the Forest Floor
The Soil – Forest Flowers – The Floor of the Boreal Forest – Valuable Dead Wood and Debris – Open Water

8. Parasites on the Conifers
The Value of Rot and Decay – Decay Fungi – Rusts – Dwarf Mistletoe

9. Insects and Conifers
Insects as Feeders – Beetles – Caterpillars and Pseudocaterpillars – Sawflies – Bugs – Parasitoids – Ants and Others

10. Some Mammals and Birds of the Forest
Food and Shelter – Seldom Seen Mammals – Squirrels and Their Relatives – A Rodent and a Lagomorph – Big Herbivores – Carnivores – Big Omnivores – Birds

11. Natural and Unnatural Interference
Fire – Forest Succession – Snow and Wind – Air Pollution and Acid Rain – Logging

12. The Big Picture
Forest Regions – What Controls Which Species Grow Where

13. Global Warming and the Forests
The Physics of Climate Change – How Will Climate Change Affect the Forests – Fire and the Forests – Insects, Lightning, Wind, and Snow (Again) – The Value (If Any) of Predictions


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