Widely regarded as the driest place on earth, the seemingly desolate Atacama Desert of Chile is a place steeped in intrigue and haunted by collective memories. This book, based on archival research and the author's personal field experiences, brings together the works of geographers, historians, anthropologists, botanists, geologists, astronomers, novelists, and others to offer a nuanced understanding of this complex desert landscape.
Beginning with the indigenous Atacameño peoples at the southern edge of the Incan empire, the volume moves through five hundred years of history, sharing accounts written by Spanish, French, German, Dutch, British, American, and other travelers—pirates, scientists, explorers, and entrepreneurs among them. The Atacama’s austere landscape hides many secrets, including vast mineral wealth, the world's oldest mummies, and the more recent remains of dissidents murdered by the regime of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the early 1970s. Today numerous observatories operate under the Atacama’s clear night skies, astronauts train on the rugged desert floor, and tourists flock there for inspiration.
In addition to a rich set of narratives, the book features 115 images—historical maps, photographs, and natural history illustrations, most in full color—to tell a more complete and compelling story. Imagining the Atacama Desert shows how what was once a wilderness at the edges of empire became one of South America's most iconic regions, one that continues to lure those seeking adventure and the unknown.
Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest is an informative, colorful, comprehensive guide to invasive species that are currently endangering native habitats in the region. It will be an essential resource for land managers, nature lovers, property owners, farmers, landscapers, educators, botanists, foresters, and gardeners.
Invasive plants are a growing threat to ecosystems everywhere. Often originating in distant climes, they spread to woodlands, wetlands, prairies, roadsides, and backyards that lack the biological controls which kept these plant populations in check in their homelands. Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest includes more than 250 color photos that will help anyone identify problem trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, sedges, and herbaceous plants (including aquatic invaders). The text offers further details of plant identification; manual, mechanical, biological, and chemical control techniques; information and advice about herbicides; and suggestions for related ecological restoration and community education efforts. Also included are literature references, a glossary, a matrix of existing and potential invasive species in the Upper Midwest, an index with both scientific and common plant names, advice on state agencies to contact with invasive plant questions, and other helpful resources.
The information in this book has been carefully reviewed by staffs of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Endangered Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum and other invasive plant experts.
Newcomers to Iowa are always amazed at the yearly changes in the heights of fields. The landscape expands from ground level to ten feet tall and back again every year: from frozen bare ground in winter to light green sprouts in late spring to dark green corn in late summer to acre upon acre of dry cornstalks at harvest time. Slow and unwieldy machines take up more than their share of the roads, clouds of black or yellow dust cover the fields in spring and fall, pigs (or are they hogs?) in various colors look out from fences, huge tractors with complicated add-ons lumber through the fields, shiny silos linked with tentacles tower above tidy white farmhouses dwarfed by huge red barns. What are the names of all these animals and crops and buildings and machines? As an introduction to the practical magic of Iowa farmscapes, Iowa Farm in Your Pocket won’t tell you everything you should know to be a true Iowan, but it will tell you enough that you can survive a day at the state fair without embarrassing yourself.
Iowa ranks first in the U.S. in the number of hogs, egg layers, and pullets and in the production of corn and soybeans. Yes, the number of farms is shrinking, and their size is increasing. Yes, most Iowans now live in towns, compared to a hundred years ago, when the majority lived on farms. But despite urbanization and the rise of corporate farming, the family farm—more than 77,000 of them at last count—is still a vital part of Iowa’s identity. Fly over the state in summertime or drive across it in fall, when the headlights of tractors shine from the fields at night and golden mountains of corn are stacked around elevators, and it’s easy to see that an enormous percentage is farmland—more than 85 percent, in fact.
Kirk Murray’s loving and endearing photographs make this guide the perfect companion for drives in the countryside in all seasons. They celebrate the rich activities and varied beauties of each season on the farm, from the starkness of winter whites to the pale and rich greens of spring and summer to the rust-reds and golds of fall. Murray’s photos of sprouting corn at dawn, a summer sun shining on a farm pond, and a full moon over a silver silo echo Grant Wood and Vincent Van Gogh; his photos of tilling, planting, and harvesting are bright and energizing; his scenes of barnyards and fields and farmsteads are colorful and luminous; and his photos of farm animals are just plain fun.
With eighty full-color photographs of the most common animals, activities, crops, and buildings that you can expect to see whenever you pass a family farmstead, Iowa Farm in Your Pocket will be a treat for all newcomers to a state where corn and beans and hogs rule, for both urban and rural children and their parents, and for all those who want to revisit memories of growing up on a farm.
From the spiky teeth of a geode containing sparkling quartz crystals, the rich browns and golds of smoky quartz and goethite needles on calcite, and the coral-like branches of plumose barite to the abstract reds and whites of polished agate cabochons, world-class mineral crystals are harvested from the rocks of the Hawkeye State. Collecting these high-quality crystals requires access to active mines, pits, and quarries, and individual collectors are rarely allowed entrance to these facilities. With information about each specimen’s type, source, size, and current location, Paul Garvin and Anthony Plaut’s Iowa Gems and Minerals in Your Pocket provides access to the glittering, gleaming world of Iowa crystals.
Most, if not all, of Iowa’s gems and minerals are products of crystallization in underground cavities that filled with water containing dissolved chemicals. The famed Iowa geodes (Iowa’s state rock) are products of a complex process of replacement and cavity-filling in the Warsaw Shale. Armored by a rind of tough chalcedonic quartz, these spheroidal masses, which range up to more than a meter across, weather out of the host rock and accumulate along streams in the southeastern part of the state. During the Pleistocene Epoch, large masses of glacial ice rafted the ultra-fine-grained variety of quartz called Lake Superior agates, which had previously weathered out of their host rocks, southward into Iowa. They can be found in the gravels that have accumulated along major streams in the eastern half of the state.
Iowa’s long record of mining lead, coal, gypsum, and limestone contains a rich history; the forty-seven mineral specimens inIowa Gems and Minerals in Your Pocketmake up a fascinating illustrated guide to that history. Carefully lit and photographed to reveal both maximum detail and maximum beauty, each specimen becomes a work of art.
Imagine a place dedicated to the long-term study of nature in nature, a permanent biological field station, a teaching and research laboratory that promotes complete immersion in the natural world. Lakeside Laboratory, founded on the shore of Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa in 1909, is just such a place. In this remarkable and insightful book, Michael Lannoo sets the story of Lakeside Lab within the larger story of the primacy of fieldwork, the emergence of conservation biology, and the ability of field stations to address such growing problems as pollution, disease, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change.
At the intersection of major ecosystems with distinct plant and animal communities and surrounded by what, ironically, may be the most intensely cultivated landscape on earth, Lakeside has a long history of rubber-boot biologists saturated in the spirit that grounds the new discipline of conservation biology, and Lannoo brings this history to life with his descriptions of the people and ideas that shaped it. Lakeside’s continuing commitment to bringing the laboratory to the field rather than bringing the field to the lab has supported a focus on mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate biology, parasitology, limnology, and algology, subjects rarely taught now on university campuses but crucial to the planet’s health.
Today’s huge array of environmental problems can best be solved by people who have learned about nature within nature at a place with a long history of research and observation, people who thoroughly understand and appreciate nature’s cogs and wheels. Lakeside Lab and biological research stations like it have never been more relevant to science and to society at large than they are today. Michael Lannoo convinces us that while Lakeside’s past is commendable, its future, grounded in ecological principles, will help shape a more sustainable society.
Packed in its dense, historic city centers, Italy holds some of the most prized architecture and art in the world, with which planners and politicians have had to negotiate as they struggle to cope with massive migration from the countryside to the city. Early modern architecture coincided with a sustained drive to transform a country that was still primarily rural into a modern industrial state, and throughout the twentieth century, architects in Italy have attempted to define the role of architecture within a capitalist economy and under diverse political systems. In Italy: Modern Architectures in History, Diane Yvonne Ghirardo addresses these and other issues in her analysis of the last century of Italy’s building practices.
Specifically, she examines the post-unification efforts to identify a distinctly Italian architectural language, as well as the transformation of the urban environment in Italian cities undergoing industrialization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She challenges received interpretations of modern architecture and also looks at the subject of illegal building and current responses to ecological challenges. In order to illuminate the full scope of the building industry in Italy, her examples are drawn not only from the work of widely published architects in the largest cities but from throughout the peninsula, including small towns and rural areas.
Insightful reading for those interested in Italian culture, this book offers a new way of understanding the architectural history of modern Italy.