Tag Archives: book review

Better botany by (book) design

14 Jun

The first week of any new job can be a little slow, and arriving at your first federal posting is certainly no exception. There’s a stack of field guides on a nearby desk, so I’ve decided to flip through and do some comparing while I wait for my colleague to finish getting set up on all our various computer profiles. So, especially if you’re looking to pick up a Pacific Northwest field guide, here’s my summation.

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Western Region, Elbert L. Little, ed.

Grade: C

The book provides a very cursory discussion of botany basics (plant parts, leaf shapes, etc.), some of which is illustrated, and details on major habitats and proper usage of the book itself.

Continue reading

The importance of recording everything: A book review

22 Feb

Field Notes on Science and Nature (ed. Michael R. Canfield) was recommended to me by a teacher a while back. It made loads of Best of 2011 lists, too, and for good reason — it’s a fascinating exploration of keeping field notes.

On the surface, this may not sound so interesting, but the book illuminates the approaches of several contributors spanning fields from anthropology to wildlife conservation, and it not only explains what sort of things they record, but why, and even what benefit there is in doing it one way instead of another. A great example is the chapters that alternately sing the praises of Polaroid instant film and of black-and-white sketches. Because each contributor makes a convincing case for his or her method of choice (which often involves explaining why another method should not be used), it can seem like a tangle of contradictions. But the wealth of perspectives is exactly why I found it valuable.

Continue reading

Fire in Oregon’s forests: A study analysis

16 Feb

English: "Elk Bath" – A wildfire in ...I had expected this to be a very dense academic work since its subtitle bills it as a synthesis of current information,  and at times, it is. But I was also surprised to see that most of the information presented would be easily understood by the average reader. It’s mildly personally disappointing, as I was hoping to find a dense academic work (since OFRI publishes things just for me dontcha know), but it’s far outweighed by how much good can be done by making this information understandable to landowners and other non-specialists.

This publication spans everything from basics to specifics, predictive science to natural history. It begins by explaining a lot of things that I take for granted, and would imagine that many Pacific Northwesterners also consider common knowledge — the recent history of wildfire suppression policy, explanations of historical fire regimes, and the many dangers posed to the natural world by the interaction of the two.

Continue reading

Solving the mysteries of the outdoors: A book review

5 Jan

stone wall image via virginia trails at WordPress

This Christmas, my sister gave me a copy of an interesting dichotomous key called Forest Forensics by Tom Wessels. Of course, I read it immediately in service of my ongoing quest to know everything. Then, I typed up this post, saved it as a draft and promptly forgot about it.

So, from the dusty annals of last week, I present: my not-so-long-lost review! And I promise it will be much less intense than my last one. Read on, dear readers, without fear of alienation or boredom!

Continue reading

It’s OK if you’re not good at everything: A critical analysis

27 Dec

library image via Wikipedia

One of the things I want to do often on this blog is write about what I’ve learned from various forestry books that I’ve read. To kick this endeavor off, I wanted to start at the beginning. So, I found the oldest book on the subject that I could: Edward T. Allen’s Practical Forestry in the Pacific Northwest, apparently published for the first time in 1911.

Reading it was a disjointed experience, not only due to the writing style but also in terms of the massive gap between still-relevant information and material that seems much less worthwhile. Specifically, this book is fabulous for technical information and less-than-fully relevant for social/political argumentation. It’s part of the point, as the dual aims of Allen’s text are to to explain how to manage timber for eventual public profit, and also to drum up popular and government support for sustained-use forestry; however the only “failing” is that I am reading it more than a hundred years after its intended audience.

Continue reading

loggersdaughter

Just another WordPress.com site

La Jicarita

An Online Magazine of Environmental Politics in New Mexico

AgStudy

U.S. Graduate School Opportunities in Agriculture

Subalpine Forest Ecology: Aaron Rhodes

Subalpine Forest Ecology @aaronrhodesc

Wood on Fire - Topics of Lumber Industry

Economics for Lumber Industry

Logger's Daughter (metsurin tytär)

Finland forestry and agriculture: an exchange student's lessons in language and culture.

The Green Thumb 2.0

A mix of botany, gardening and photography

Africa is a Country

a site of media criticism, analysis and new writing

biologycuratorialtrainee.wordpress.com/

RUSSELL DORNAN | museums | digital | natural history | photography

Midwest Naturalist

Living in harmony with our creator, his creation and all living things.