In The Emerald Horizon, Cornelia Mutel combines lyrical writing with meticulous scientific research to portray the environmental past, present, and future of Iowa. In doing so, she ties all of Iowa's natural features into one comprehensive whole.
Since so much of the tallgrass state has been transformed into an agricultural landscape, Mutel focuses on understanding today’s natural environment by understanding yesterday’s changes. After summarizing the geological, archaeological, and ecological features that shaped Iowa’s modern landscape, she recreates the once-wild native communities that existed prior to Euroamerican settlement. Next she examines the dramatic changes that overtook native plant and animal communities as Iowa’s prairies, woodlands, and wetlands were transformed. Finally she presents realistic techniques for restoring native species and ecological processes as well as a broad variety of ways in which Iowans can reconnect with the natural world. Throughout, in addition to the many illustrations commissioned for this book, she offers careful scientific exposition, a strong sense of respect for the land, and encouragement to protect the future by learning from the past.
The “emerald prairie” that “gleamed and shone to the horizon’s edge,” as botanist Thomas Macbride described it in 1895, has vanished. Cornelia Mutel’s passionate dedication to restoring this damaged landscapeand by extension the transformed landscape of the entire Corn Beltinvigorates her blend of natural history and human history. Believing that citizens who are knowledgeable about native species, communities, and ecological processes will better care for them, she gives us hopeand sound suggestionsfor the future.
|Publisher:||University of Iowa Press|
|Series:||Bur Oak Book Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
Table of Contents
1. Setting the Stage
2. A Miracle of Sight, Scent, and Sound
3. The Great Transformation
4. Prairies Today
5. Oak Woodlands and Bottomland Forests Today
6. Restoring Nature's Systems
7. Present Quandaries, Future Quests
Appendix. Common and Scientific Names of Native and Naturalized Plants in the Text