From windswept tundra to humid subtropical everglades, from gracious coniferous forests to austere deserts, North America is blessed with an incredibly diverse array of natural environments, each supporting a unique system of plant and animal life. These systems--also known as biomes--are tightly woven webs of life that have taken millennia to evolve. This lavishly illustrated book introduces readers to this extraordinary array of natural communities and to the subtle interactions of minerals, plants, and animals that take place within them. Professor Eric Bolen takes a qualitative, intuitive approach to his subject, beginning with an overview of essential ecological terms and concepts, such as competitive exclusion, taxa, niches, and succession. Then, biome by biome, he covers the entirety of Canada and the United States, starting with the tundra of the far north and working his way south and then west to conclude in the deserts and chaparral of southern California.
Along the way, he delves into pertinent conservation issues and features fascinating historical vignettes and original documents detailing human impact on various environments--for instance, the role of John Deere's plow in settling grasslands, and the use of fur records from Hudson's Bay Company. Throughout, he enlivens the text with dozens of exquisite photographs and illuminating maps, graphs, charts, and tables. Ecology of North America is an ideal first text for students interested in natural resources, environmental science, and biology, and it is a useful and attractive addition to the library of anyone interested in understanding and protecting the natural environment.