Download A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson PDF

By Steven L. Stephenson

ISBN-10: 1933202688

ISBN-13: 9781933202686

Central Appalachia is the process of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain present in western and southwestern Virginia, jap and primary West Virginia, western Maryland, and a component of south vital and southwestern Pennsylvania. via its concise and available technique, A average background of the significant Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the vegetation, animals, and different organisms of this zone of jap North America.
With over a hundred and twenty pictures, this article offers an summary of the panorama of this quarter, together with the most important adjustments that experience taken position over the earlier three hundred million years; describes the differing kinds of forests and different plant groups at present found in significant Appalachia; and examines dwelling platforms starting from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. via a attention of the heritage of people within the quarter, starting with the coming of the 1st local american citizens, A usual heritage of the crucial Appalachians also discusses the previous, current, and destiny affects of human task upon this geographic area.

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Additional resources for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

Sample text

The last eastern wood buffalo was killed in West Virginia in 1825. The eastern elk was eliminated by about 1890, and the gray wolf survived only about a decade longer. Although the animals are gone, they left a legacy of place names throughout the region. For example, there are the towns of Wolf Creek and Elk City in West Virginia and streams named Wolf Creek and Buffalo River in Virginia. At the beginning of the twentieth century only the white-tailed deer, black bear, and mountain lion remained, and the last had been reduced to very low numbers.

Fossils of Archaeopteris, an early tree with conifer-like wood, a trunk that could reach five feet in diameter, and branches that were flattened in one plane so as to resemble FIGURE 9 Archaeopteris, an early treelike plant with fernlike leaves 0 2 HISTORY OF THE FLORA AND FAUNA the fronds of ferns are known from the late Devonian in the Central Appalachians (fig. 9). It was thought that fossils of the flattened branches of Archaeopteris were from a large fern, and that fossils of the trunk belonged to an extinct conifer (assigned to the genus Callixylon), until 1960, when Charles Beck, a paleobotanist at the University of Michigan, discovered a fossil in which the two were attached and thus represented the same plant.

Ferns never achieved a dominant position in the earth’s vegetation. With the exception of tree ferns (which usually grow in the understory of forests) and some so-called “sun ferns” that can grow in total sunlight, ferns as a group seem to have had what might be called “secondary” ecological status throughout their history on the earth. To a modern observer, the ferns in a coal swamp forest would not seem out of place in a lowland tropical forest of today, and the leaves of some Carboniferous ferns are remarkably similar to those of certain living species.

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