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BEN # 231

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Mon Sep 6 18:10:52 EST 1999


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No. 231                              September 6, 1999

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
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 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
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TWO KEYSTONE ARID LAND PAPERS
From: William Reid <whreid at infowest.com>

Dr.  Wesley  Larsen  of Toquerville, Utah has given me copies of
two papers by Walter Cottam that ought to be keystones  in  dis-
cussions  of  the  effects  of grazing (and combined grazing and
fire) in the arid West.  Having  spent  six  years  at  Hanford,
Washington, I know their scope goes beyond Utah.

Wes  Larsen  was  Dean  of  Science at what is now Southern Utah
University in Cedar City. He, at  83,  has  recently  retired  a
second time, since (he claims) he now has his student loans paid
off.  Actually,  he  wants  to spend full time on writing in his
coupled areas of interest, botany,  ethnobotany,  human  ecology
and history. The papers are:

Cottam,  W.P.  and  George  Stewart. 1940. Plant Succession as a
   Result of Grazing and of Meadow Desiccation by Erosion  Since
   Settlement in 1862. Journal of Forestry 38(8): 613-626.

This  paper  uses  data  on the much visited Mountain Meadows in
Washington County, Utah. It clearly illustrates  the  ecological
catastrophe  at  this  once-key  resting  area on the trail from
Santa Fe to California taken by Fremont in the 1840s.

Cottam, W. P. 1947. Is Utah Sahara Bound? Univ. of Utah Bulletin
   37(11): 1-37.

This paper strikes at the  heart  of  the  Utah  myth  that  the
"desert has been turned green," and was given on the occasion of
the University of Utah's annual Reynolds Lecture for the centen-
nial settlement year. Cottam shows the process of range destruc-
tion  in a cultural socioeconomic context, and asserts that much
of the damage occurred within two or three  decades  of  settle-
ment.  He cites data that grass cover in Utah's Great Basin went
from 45% to Zero between 1857  and  1937,  while  Artemisia  in-
creased  from  1%  to  12% and Chrysothamnus rose to 13%. It's a
powerful paper that must have taken great courage.

In 1947 the cattle industry in Utah had  great  leverage  as  it
still  does  today,  though  both then and now its economic con-
tribution is small. Then, however, he  had  substantial  support
from  cattlemen in retaining public lands under federal control.
Only the federal government, they  believed,  could  direct  the
needed resources to range research and restoration.

Restoration-minded  or  not,  today  Cottam  would be labeled an
"environmentalist," a term of some  approbation  in  Utah.  For-
tunately,  1940  and 1947 were years before the term was coined.
Wes assures me that Cottam (one of his professors) was a  scien-
tific  activist, arguing (for example) with county commissioners
against sheep  trailing  in  sensitive  watershed  canyons,  and
speaking  out  on  restoration at any opportunity. Walter Cottam
was decades ahead of his time, and his papers have  extra  power
from that today. He saw it as it was--and is.


BIOGRAPHY OF THE AMERICAN COCKERELL - PREPUBLICATION OFFER

The  American Cockerell: a naturalist's life, 1866-1948. William
   A. Weber, F.L.S., Editor. The biography of a highly  regarded
   naturalist  at  the University of Colorado in the early Twen-
   tieth Century, culled from the subject's own autobiographical
   writings.

In The  American  Cockerell,  A  Naturalist's  Life,  1866-1948,
botanist  William  A. Weber pulls together pieces of the life of
T.D.A. "Theo" Cockerell, a man who was an internationally  known
scientist,  a  prolific writer, and a highly regarded teacher at
the University of Colorado in Boulder. The elder brother of  the
noted  scholar  Sir  Sydney  Cockerell, Theo labored in relative
obscurity in America while his brothers and their families  were
basking in the limelight of smart British society.

Despite  his  alienation from his elite background, he neverthe-
less became a great teacher,  a  mentor,  a  kindly  artist  and
writer  of  rhymes  for children, and the greatest specialist on
bees in the world. His contribution to the understanding of wild
bees is monumental; he catalogued over 900 species  in  Colorado
alone,  and  he assiduously collected them wherever he traveled.
By 1938 he had published the names and descriptions of 5,480 new
species and subspecies. Despite his accomplishments in  entomol-
ogy  however,  Cockerell resisted specialization. He was also an
early supporter of women's rights,  a  Morrisian  socialist,  an
avid  reader,  and  author  of almost 4,000 published scientific
papers, book reviews, and discussions of  political  and  social
issues.

Pieced  together  from  T.D.A.'s  little-known  autobiographical
writings, The American Cockerell demonstrates this extraordinary
individual's breadth of interest,  competence,  and  talent.  It
will be of interest to scientists and lay readers alike. Most of
the  papers  originally  were written for young students and the
public; his insights into the future problems  facing  education
especially in America were prophetic.

Available  at  special  20  per  cent  prepublication  discount,
US$23.96 (until November) from  University  Press  of  Colorado,
order toll free 1-800-268-6044. You must mention SOURCE CODE FLD
when  placing  an  order.  Address of the University of Colorado
Press is PO Box 849, Niwoty CO 80544.


NEW BOOK: THE LICHENS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA - PART 2
From: Adolf Ceska <aceska at victoria.tc.ca>

Goward, T. 1999. The lichens of  British  Columbia,  illustrated
   keys. Part 2, Fruticose Species. Special report series no. 9.
   British  Columbia  Ministry  of Forests, Victoria, BC. 319 p.
   ISBN 0-7726-3961-2 [soft cover] Price: CDN$ 55.00

   Available from Crown  Publications  Inc.,  521  Fort  Street,
   Victoria,  B.C.  Canada  V8W 1E7, Phone: (250) 386-4636, Fax:
   (250) 386-0221
   http://www.crownpub.bc.ca/

This book covers 309 species of fruticose lichens that occur  or
are  expected  to  occur  in  British Columbia. It starts with a
short, clear introduction to  lichen  morphology.  In  the  main
part,  Trevor  Goward provides keys for identification of genera
and species. Range and habitat, chemical reactions, and chemical
constituents are listed for all the species. In  numerous  notes
that  accompany descriptions, Trevor adds any information useful
for the species identification or for understanding  their  dis-
tributions.  Trevor  did  all  of the drawings that form the in-
tegral part of introductory chapters and keys. You will see that
it is a great advantage when the author of a taxonomic treatment
can illustrate his own work.

I was impressed by the keys to Cladina (72  species;  mind  you,
that's only about a one half of our sedges!) and I liked all the
information  on  the "Calicioid" lichens - those small pins that
you can find on tree bark in our ancient  forests.  BEN  readers
won't  be  at all surprised that I don't like Trevor's effort to
provide common names for all lichens "as vehicles of  communica-
tion for those unwilling to use scientific names." Some of those
common  names  sound  like  they were coined while under the in-
fluence of Cladonia pleurota - "Mind-altering pixie-cup."

The book is very well produced and both Trevor  Goward  and  the
British Columbia Ministry of Forests should be congratulated for
this excellent contribution. Many thanks, Trevor!

P.S. I should mention that this volume is a sequel to

Goward,  T.,  B.  McCune,  &  D. Meidinger. 1994. The lichens of
   British Columbia,  illustrated  keys.  Part  1,  Foliose  and
   Squamulose  Species. Special report series no. 8, B.C. Minis-
   try of Forests, Victoria,  B.C.  181  p.  ISBN  0-7726-2194-2
   [soft over] Price: CDN$ 31.00

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