Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Rocky Mountain Futures: An Ecological Perspective

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Rocky Mountain Futures: An Ecological Perspective

Article excerpt

Review: Rocky Mountain Futures: An Ecological Perspective By Jill S. Baron (Ed.) Reviewed by Tania Aguero North Miami Beach, Florida, USA Jill S. Baron (Ed.). Rocky Mountain Futures: An Ecological Perspective. Washington DC: Island Press, 2002. 325 pp. ISBN 1-55963-954-7. Acid free paper.

Human activity has pervasively altered the natural dynamics and landscape in the Rocky Mountains (p. 21). The combination of past and present physical and biological forces has changed, in different aspects, the environment, and now the region is very different than it would have been had there been no human activity.

The template on which it sets defines the physical structure of the Rocky Mountains. Glacial history, lithology, and topographic structures add fine scale characteristics for specific mountain ranges, and, at the finest level, for a specific hill slope. Disturbance processes have added the final impacts on the Rocky Mountain environment. The indirect effects of human activities, especially those involving climate changes, are present through all the Rocky Mountain ecosystems, such as the alpine zone, alpine lake, and the tree line. Direct human influences on the alpine zone include both past and current mining activities, over grazing by livestock, recreation, and the introduction of non-native species.

The climate and atmospheric changes in the Rocky Mountains are more significant to the composition of plant species than are changes in temperature and moisture; for example, the addition of nitrogen to grassland to increase the presence and densities of exotic plants (p. 231).

Many human activities directly affecting the alpine and tree line ecosystems have been curtailed since the mid-twentieth century as a result of environmental regulation, economics, and shifting societal values (p. …

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