1274 Slices
Medium 9780870819360

LION HEART

Cara Blessley Lowe University Press of Colorado ePub

CARA BLESSLEY LOWE

Wyoming—For this author, following an outfitter on a hunt, a different understanding of cougar pursuit emerges.

High in the Wind River Mountains, the Whiskey Basin cups the sky, a bowl-shaped plateau rounded out by glacial melts and frost heaves and the repeat pounding of seismic shifts. This is Marlboro Man country, and, like the cougars who dwell here, it is expansive, mysterious, vast. It is a favorite place for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, for elk and mule deer, and moose. And because of these congenial vegetarians, it is also a favorite for raven and cougar, black bear and coyote, for wolves. They speak each other’s language, these animals, their tracks a conversation in competition, in survival. The trails of hooves and paws, the concentric circles of magpie wings alighting in the powder, the crunch of snow mixed with blood, the drag marks of a mule deer’s body all quietly tell the stories that shape and define this small slice of the animal kingdom.

Then there are the tire tracks, the grooves made by the blades of a snowmobile slicing the powder with an inorganic mechanical perfection, the hoofprints of several packhorses mashing the trail to an unrecognizable slush of travel in a single-file line, the frenetic wandering paw prints of dogs combing out across the snow in search of a scent trail. Here, hunting the Wyoming backcountry, one creature is always following the next, and so it was that I followed a hunter, a cougar outfitter, a houndsman, a father, a husband, up into the mountains to film his point of view on why he takes people out to hunt America’s greatest cat.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781585446179

Chapter 8 Reef Corals

Tunnell, John W. Texas A&M University Press ePub

GUILLERMO HORTA-PUGA, JUAN MANUEL VARGASHERNÁNDEZ, AND JUAN PABLO CARRICART-GANIVET

Editors’ note—Coral reef zonation is discussed in chapter 5 and soft and hard coral biodiversity is discussed in chapter 6.

Recent distribution of the shallow-water zooxanthellate Scleractinia extends to the greater Indo-Pacific (Pacific and Indian Oceans, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf) and the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico. The greater Indo-Pacific is the most prominent and diverse biogeographic province; the Atlantic is far inferior to the greater Pacific in all aspects of species richness (Wells 1956, 1957; Stehli and Wells 1971; Veron 1995, 2000). During the Cenozoic, the Atlantic Province was physically and genetically connected with the eastern Pacific, sharing numerous coral species. However, by the Pliocene, the Central American Isthmus formed a barrier and separated the two ocean provinces, accelerating local extinction processes that have promoted substantial taxonomic differences between them. The Indo-Pacific is now by far the most diverse in terms of species, genera, and families of reef-building corals, with >700 species. This level of scleractinian diversity arose in a complex, geographically large, and highly heterogeneous environment, isolated from continental land masses that protected the region from the effects of multiple glacial periods. This produced, along with the reticulated evolution, a suite of suitable conditions for the appearance of numerous species since the end of the Mesozoic. The reef fauna that survived in the Atlantic, which is mainly composed of long-lived genera derived from the Tethys fauna, is less diverse today (Veron 1995).

See All Chapters
Medium 9781607321934

DEATH OF A BHARAL

Don Hunter University Press of Colorado ePub

M I T C H E L L   K E L L Y

INDIA In Ladakh’s high mountains, nature’s drama of life and death is described in full detail as seen through the lens of a determined filmmaker.

Fly north from Delhi and within an hour you’ll be above the peaks of the Indian Himalaya. You’ll look down in dread and wonder how an animal can stand upright, let alone survive, and you’ll convince yourself that where you’re headed couldn’t possibly be this rugged. Beneath you the mountains go on and on, and something seems not quite right—you’re flying over these peaks, thousands of feet over them, and yet you feel them towering above you. It’s your first sense of the power of the Himalaya. The mountains become less white and more brown, and with just the slightest descent you fly between two hills and land at the town of Leh. You’d like a better word than “moonscape” but that’s the only one you manage, and at this altitude you care less for description than you do for respiration.

A jeep takes you across the Indus River and up into the mountains until the track runs out, where Namgyal the horseman is waiting for you. Beyond are only foot trails. You’ll walk through a cultivated valley and back and forth across the frozen river and, mesmerized by the sound of horse bells, you’ll somewhere enter Hemis National Park. The hillsides will steepen to slopes of loose scree and then to cliff, and you’ll scan the skyline for animals you can’t yet see. Walk like this for half a day and you’ll reach a spot where you can no longer call it a valley but rather a canyon: sheer vertical cliff on both sides, a hundred feet apart. Just before you enter the canyon, high up where the scree gives way to cliff, is a spring, flowing warm from the rock for a foot or two before it freezes into a solid ice waterfall. It’s one of the few midwinter sources of drinkable water for miles around, the kind of place where you’d expect things to happen. If you’re here for months or a year, you’ll pass this spot many times, and each time you’ll feel the landscape crackle with tension. If you are lucky, it’s here that you will meet the snow leopard.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781623490386

10. Beaches of Texas

Davis, Richard A. Texas A&M University Press ePub

Beaches of Texas

THE Texas coast is essentially a continuum of beaches with tidal inlets scattered throughout (figure 10.1). With few exceptions, these beaches are on barrier islands that are no more than 7000 years old. Mainland beaches are present between Follets Island and Matagorda Peninsula. This is a distinctly wave-dominated coast with low to moderate energy and a mean annual wave height of about 0.5 m. Because the prevailing wind is from the southeast, much of the coast experiences a northeast-to-southwest longshore transport of sediment. In contrast, from the Rio Grande mouth north to an area known as “Big Shell” in central Padre Island, the longshore transport is in the opposite direction. The passage of cold fronts between October and March produces strong wind from the north that blows generally offshore and dissipates wave energy for a few days each year. This process and the relatively strong prevailing wind have resulted in this coast being considered wind dominated, a more specific category of wave-dominated coasts.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781780643373

8: Close-to-nature Forestry

Kirby, K.J. CABI PDF

8 

Close-to-nature Forestry

Matthias Bürgi*

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland

8.1 Introduction

Throughout most of the 19th century, forestry in large parts of Europe was dominated by the German classical school of forestry advocated, for example, by Heinrich Cotta, Johann

Christian Hundeshagen and Ludwig Hartig.

This promoted the creation of pure, evenaged and often coniferous stands which were clear-cut and replanted in a rotation system.

The approach was based on the principle of sustainability, traced back to Hans Carl von

Carlowitz (1713), which could be fulfilled by making regular annual cuts controlled by area, followed by planting the next generation of trees, typically spruce (Picea abies) (Savill,

Chapter 7).

The more homogenous a stand was in terms of growing conditions, species composition and age of the trees, the easier it was to make sure that every annual cut contained about the same amount of timber. However, these homogenous monocultures proved to be vulnerable to disturbance events such as insect outbreaks, windthrow and frost damage (Jacobsen, 2001). Moreover, on some soils, yields declined in the second or third generation of conifers (Heyder, 1986). Later, nature conservation organizations started to criticize

See All Chapters

See All Slices