The Poconos

By Carl S. Oplinger; Robert Halma | Go to book overview

5
Watercourse
and wetland communities

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not
full; unto the place from whence the rivers come,
thither they return again.

—Ecclesiastes 1:7

Water is the essence of life; life began in water and the association endures. Most plant and animal cells have as much as 70–80 percent water in their composition, and even uptake of nutrients and gases by terrestrial organisms occurs only as these vital substances are dissolved in water.

The various habitats collectively called watercourse and wetland communities are determined largely by their water component. Thus, changes in these communities chiefly result from the influence of the quality and quantity of water.


The paradox of water

Water is both common and uncommon. Almost three-fourths of the earth’s surface is water but at the same time water is a substance with many unusual, and, in some cases, rare characteristics. As Figure 5.1 indicates, water is a polar molecule because the two hydrogen atoms, covalently bonded to one oxygen atom, are displaced to one side, producing a slight positive charge to that side.

-149-

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The Poconos
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • List of Boxes xi
  • List of Cameos xiii
  • List of Tables xv
  • Preface to the Revised Edition xvii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Pocono Patterns 9
  • 2 - Geological Forces That Shaped the Poconos 28
  • 3 - Vegetation of Pocono Forests 54
  • 4 - Animals of Pocono Forests 97
  • 5 - Watercourse and Wetland Communities 149
  • 6 - Roadsides, Waste Places, and Invasive Species 212
  • 7 - Human Activity from Native Americans to Vacationers 234
  • 8 - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area 270
  • Appendix 283
  • Selected Readings and Source Material 317
  • Index 329
  • About the Authors 343
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