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Northwest California

A Natural History

John O. Sawyer (Author)


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.

The Klamath: Land of Mountains and Canyons
The North Coast: Land of Towering Trees
High and Low: Looking for Patterns in Vegetation
Beyond the Ancient Meeting Ground
Regimes of Fire
Agents of Change
The Status of Northwest California Today
Northwest California’s Biological Future

Selected Readings
Index of Plant Names
General Index
Plates follow page 128.
John O. Sawyer is Professor of Botany, Emeritus, at Humboldt State University. Among his books is Trees and Shrubs of California, from UC Press.
“This remarkable volume is informative and engaging. It is a comprehensive natural history of the area.”—Botanical Rsrch Inst. Of Txs (Jbrit)
"No one is more familiar with the natural history of the poorly known northwest corner of California than John Sawyer. It is a treat to go along with him as he expertly describes the fascinating physical and biological forces that shape the incredibly diverse landscapes of this region. Details on how humans have modified these lands in the past, as well as the present, and how we can preserve the many unusual ecosystems found there, bring added depth to this remarkable volume."—Harold Mooney, Stanford University

“While Northwest California is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the state, it is also one of the least known. One person, however, knows that region well—very well, in fact—and that is John Sawyer, a botanist who has been studying the area for over 40 years. We should all be grateful that he shares a good deal of his knowledge in this engaging, informative, and comprehensive natural history."—Lester Rowntree, University of California Berkeley

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