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Unnatural Landscapes: Tracking Invasive Speciesby Ceiridwen Terrill
Synopses & Reviews
Louisiana crawfish, cheatgrass, Russian thistle, Hottentot figs, rats, and sweet fennel. These and dozens of other seemingly benign flora and fauna have become some of the worst culprits in the destruction of ecosystems and native wildlife in the American Southwest and Baja California.
Although widely publicized threats — such as pollution, land development, changes in the atmospheric condition, fire, and drought — are frequently credited with posing the greatest danger to indigenous animals and plants, invasive species are quickly becoming a far more insidious peril to the survival of native wildlife. A result of both accident and human intervention, the frequency with which exotic species are being introduced into nonnative environments is increasing at an alarming rate.
In Unnatural Landscapes, Ceiridwen Terrill combines lucid science writing with first-person tales of adventure to provide a compelling introduction to invasion ecology and restoration management. Traveling aboard her trusty kyak, The Grebe, Terrill brings readers on a firsthand tour of various "islands" in the Southwest and Mexico — both actual islands and self-contained habitat communities. From the islands of Anaho, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa to Isla Tiburón in the Sea of Cortez, Mexicali irrigation canals, and Pyramid Lake, Terrill takes an in-depth look at the damage that invasive species cause.
Drawing on field observations, research, and interviews with scientists, resource managers, and local residents, this book provides readers with the background and knowledge they need to understand and to begin combating what is quickly becoming the most important environmental crisis facing the fragile ecosystems of the Southwest.
"Ceiridwen Terrill's journey to the weeds is wholly engaging — reminiscent of John Steinbeck's Log from the Sea of Cortez and Kim Todd's Tinkering with Eden, yet all original in content and style. By personally paddling among several island ecosystems with a strong arm and a trained eye, she takes us deep into awareness of exotic species and their grim legacy, and out again into the grounded hope of restoration." Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land
Book News Annotation:
Like John Steinbeck in Log from the Sea of Cortez and Kim Todd in Tinkering with Eden listed in the references, Terrill (environmental journalism, Concordia U., Portland, Oregon) explores the threats posed by non-native plants and animals. Drawing on her field observations in actual and ecological islands in the Southwest US and Baja peninsula, she raises the "messy business" of eradicating invasive species--examples of which are featured in b&w photos. A species list is appended. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Ceiridwen Terrill is an assistant professor at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches literary nonfiction, including environmental journalism and science writing.
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