Hikers, backpackers, and casual walkers will find this Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide an invaluable companion in exploring the countryside of southern New England. Most field guides tell the reader what to look for in the landscape; this book also explains how to look, how earth and life forms interact in the ecosystem, and why each species exists where it does.
Southern New England comprises several ecological communities, including the oak and mixed mesophytic forests, the old field, sand plain, and stream bank communities. The author identifies the characteristic plants and animals of each community, and the role of geography, geology, and climate in determining their presence and distribution. He provides keys to understanding ecological succession, identifying species by community, recognition in different seasons, and looking for anomaly. The book also offers sound advice about off-trail travel (what to wear, what maps to carry, hazards to watch for); even tips on growing native plants and attracting birds. Graphic aids include over 150 line drawings, black-and-white and color photographs, range graphs, and charts.