|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
No. 128 February 24, 1996
The Second Annual Melinda F. Denton Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Department of Botany, University of Washington and the Center for Urban Horticulture, and the Melinda Denton Memorial Fund.
The following is an update of "Introduced Bog Plants Around Vancouver", BEN # 104 - July 2, 1995.
When we visited Dr. Chris Pielou in their new home on Denman Island quite a few years ago, she told us that her book on "The world of northern evergreens" had just appeared and that she was writing another book on natural history. She would not reveal what it was about, but our good mutual friend told us (about two hours later) that the book was to be on the Holocene history of North America ("After the Ice Age" - published in 1991).
Chris Pielou was an eminent mathematical ecologist and she has tried all her life to compress Nature into the bold print of matrix algebra. In her books such as "Mathematical ecology" (two editions), "The interpretation of ecological data...", "Population and community ecology" - just to name a few, you easily find sections which you cannot read unless you have a degree in mathematics. You had to wonder, how the author saw the forest, ecosystem, ecology, or a dandelion. Has she ever noticed them?
Open the "Naturalist's guide to the Arctic" and you will know the answer. No bold matrix algebra, but a nice description on how the Arctic works. You will learn about astronomy, climate, geology, the ocean, plants and animals and all the interactions and causal relationships that you have to know in order to understand this particular biome. Everything is written in the nice, clear style and all the stories are fascinating. I was looking for the name of an artist who drew the nice pictures (ranging from the Arctic landscapes, through plants, birds, and mammals to the Cariboo Warble Fly) before I noticed that the book was "illustrated with more than 400 of the author's drawings and maps."
P.S. - Richard, can you tell us what is Chris working on now?
"British Columbia is a beautiful place," told us the clerk of the Canadian Embassy in Prague in 1969 after she stamped the Canadian visa into our Czech passports. We understood what she meant when we arrived to British Columbia few days later. Ian Mackenzie's book is an extraordinary document of this extraordinary province. It is the result of a six-year pilgrimage: Ian Mackenzie has journeyed on foot and horseback, by canoe and kayak, by air, river and ocean, to the most remote corners of every region.
The photographs (we are told that they were selected from about 30,000 images) are overwhelming. I have not been able to read the text - whenever I opened the book I had to look at the photographs and I slipped into daydreaming about those sacred places. From a short biography we learn that the author has a Master degree in linguistics and speaks and read eleven languages, in addition to his gift to communicate through his photographs.
The book is a "pictorial geography of British Columbia." The biogeoclimatic map at the end of the book will give you not only the distribution of our biogeoclimatic zones, but also refers to pictures taken in the respective zones. In the text, paragraphs printed in bold italics summarize the characteristics of each biogeoclimatic zone. Great idea ! By the way, when Prof. Vladimir Krajina introduced the term "biogeoclimatic zone" even many professional people laughed to the seemingly useless tongue twister he had created. Twenty or thirty years later this term is a part of a picture book directed to a very wide audience and nobody worries that the average reader would not understand the concept of BIOGEOCLIMATIC zones.
The Lone Pine Publishing did an excellent job and produced a remarkable publication. The Lone Pine Publishing have their offices in Edmonton - Lone Pine Publishing's phone number is 1-800-661-9017.
This is the second edition of Nancy Turner's 1975 handbook on ethnobotany of British Columbia. The original edition has been expanded and updated, with more colour photographs and with the most recent additional literature references.
For the April 1st issue of BEN, I would like to compile a collection of known and unknown biological laws and postulates.
Please, send me you favourites: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: email@example.com.
BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is:
gopher://freenet.victoria.bc.ca:70/11/environment/Botany/ben. Also archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/