Northwest California: A Natural History

Northwest California: A Natural History

Northwest California: A Natural History

Northwest California: A Natural History

Synopsis

Northwestern California is mainly known for its majestic redwood forests and incomparable coastline, but there is much more in its rich biota and scenery. The forests are part of the most diverse temperate coniferous forest in the world. Rugged mountains, numerous lakes, wilderness areas, and wild rivers attract outdoor enthusiasts and geologists came here to refine the theory of plate tectonics. Distilling a vast amount of knowledge, this book is the starting point for anyone who wants to explore the biological and geographical richness of northwestern California. John O. Sawyer describes the famous forests and varied landscapes from a geographic perspective. He explains its long geological history and the changing roles of fire and land use. The result of a lifetime of work, his rich narrative illustrates how the region, in many ways the least modified portion of the state, is a place where plants and animals have been shielded from extinction. Sawyer documents the restoration of dunes and forests, the control of nonnative plant invasions, and innovative approaches to restoring rivers so they can support thriving fisheries.

Excerpt

My interest in the mountains of northwest California began even before I arrived at Humboldt State College in 1966. I had read many articles that told of the magnificent redwoods, but it was two papers by Robert Whittaker, “Vegetational History of the Pacific Coast States” and the “Central Significance of the Klamath Region and Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California,” that really piqued my interest. The next summer, Dale A. Thornburgh introduced me to the Klamath Mountains and its rare conifers. It has been a treat to get to know these mountain ranges and their vegetation patterns. As a plant ecologist, my interests expanded well beyond conifers, but the question that I invariably ask is “Why does this area look that way?” Answers have come over the years, as I became acquainted with the land and its inhabitants. This book is my answer to why the region looks the way it does.

Much of northwest California is far from where most people live. Even from Arcata, it seems as if “everthing” is at least three hours away, but making an extra effort is well worth the trip. To assist the reader to gain a better familiarity with these lands, I have highlighted many specific places in the book, especially in the national and state parks and wilderness areas. They are well worth visiting, as are the many other areas that I discuss. Maps issued by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management provide additional detail. Agency lands are open for you to enjoy, but heed the “No Trespassing” signs posted on private lands, especially in the ranch lands on the North Coast. These parcels may hide marijuana gardens; stay on the roads, and respect owner rights. Northwest California contains a great deal of open land to satisfy your wanderlust.

Natural history books typically supply short descriptions of the common plants and animals found in the region, but I am breaking from that tradition. The descriptions would differ little from those in a Natural History of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.