Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem

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9780870710940: Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem
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Veteran science writer Jon Luoma uncovers the inner workings of an ancient forest, from the microscopic bugs in the soil to the giant trees.

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Tucked away into the verdant folds of the Cascade foothills east of Eugene, Oregon, there is a forest that has been forming since before Columbus first set foot in the New World. The 16,000-acre Andrews Experimental Forest is an old-growth forest, a description largely unknown to the American public until the late 1980s, when the spotted owl swooped into notoriety. In some forestry circles, other adjectives like decadent are used to describe this forest's towering Douglas firs, western red cedars, and western hemlocks--that is, a forest that has reached maximum wood fiber capacity. Loggers contend that allowing such giant trees to die, rot, and fall over is a waste of resources. "I'm clearcutting to save the forest," declared a partisan newspaper ad in the go-go timber years of the 1970s, when old growth was liquidated at an unprecedented rate to make way for managed forest crops. The only problem with this view is that it misses the forest for the trees. In The Hidden Forest, Jon Luoma takes us below--and above--the canopy to view the natural processes of an ancient forest and visit with the scientists working there.

The Andrews is unique in that it brings together scientists from diverse fields to join a collaborative effort, with the end result being an entire ecosystem under the microscope.

In the heart of summer research season, scientists can be found burrowing in the soil under logs; or trapping insects fifteen stories or more up in the tree canopy with the aid of rock-climbing gear; or scrambling crablike in a neoprene wet suit in a rushing, buffeting mountain stream....
One optimistic scientist is examining the process of rot in fallen trees, a study that will take two centuries in the case of these old-growth logs, meaning that "it will be up to the contemporaries of [his] great-great-great-great-grandchildren to complete the analysis he has begun." Others are busy identifying thousands of species new to science. To date, this research has yielded a "wellspring of key discoveries," turning the environmental and scientific communities upside-down. But meanwhile, the last remnants of unprotected Pacific old-growth forest continue to fall to the chainsaw. "It remains to be seen," writes Luoma, "how long it might take some entrenched U.S. Forest Service managers to fully embrace more ecosystem-based approaches." The Hidden Forest is testimony as to why sooner is better than later. --Langdon Cook

About the Author:

Jon R. Luoma (Smithville, NJ) is a contributing editor to The New York Science Times and Audubon, and the author of two previous books.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780805014914: Hidden Forest : Biography of an Ecosystem

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ISBN 10:  0805014918 ISBN 13:  9780805014914
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co, 1999
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9780805064483: The Hidden Forest: The Biography of an Ecosystem

Owl Books, 2000
Softcover

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Book Description Softcover. Condition: New. 245 pages. Softcover. New book. FORESTRY. The tallest species of spruce, hemlock, fir, cedar, and pine trees on earth coexist in the old growth of the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon's Cascade Range. Set aside as a living laboratory by the U.S. Forest Service in 1948, the 16,000 acres represent a vital scientific endeavor: the long-term study of a single contained ecosystem. Here, for the first time, researchers from an enormous range of disciplines—forest scientists, botanists, entomologists, wildlife ecologists, soil biologists, and others—have assembled to examine the role of every working element in the life of a forest. In The Hidden Forest, veteran science writer Jon Luoma offers an absorbing account of how these scientists came to recognize the importance of natural forest ecosystems and how their research is revolutionizing forest management. Luoma takes readers into the hidden forest where researchers have discovered a host of species previously unknown to science, and interactions in the forest ecosystem that no one previously imagined. He describes projects dealing with the forest canopy, rotting logs, insects, fungi, wildlife, streams, and the effects of flood, fire, clear cutting, and volcanic eruption. And he tells the human story behind the research, capturing the shared excitement and wonder of scientific discovery. Along the way, Luoma provides a short course in such complex issues as forest succession, biodiversity, and the politics of forestry. In a new foreword, Jerry Franklin discusses the importance of dedicated, long-term research sites and comments on new discoveries that have emerged from forest ecosystem research since The Hidden Forest was first published. (Key Words: Forestry, Botany, Zoology, Biology, Oregon, Ecology, Silviculture, Columbia River, Washington, H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Cascade Range). book. Seller Inventory # 78145X2

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