WILD HABITATS by Aleta Karstad


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A Canadian artist-naturalist's guide to 25 wildlife habitats--in all stages, refreshingly, from the natural to the man-made. Just because the general frame of reference is Canadian and so are virtually all the sites on which the descriptions are based, Americans will respond most, perhaps, to the observations on disrupted locales (like the burned forest) or those incidental to human activities: the railroad embankment, the Great Lakes harbor in winter. Or--in the chapter on ""Eastern Mixed Forest and Cleared Land""--the rock pile in a heavily grazed field where ferns take root, the pats of cow dung riddled with beetle tunnels. But the characteristics of East and West coast are also well defined (and applicable to the northerly U.S. too); the section on the tundra brings the unfamiliar graphically to life (""You are sitting on trees--willows that are not even the shape of bushes but part of the herb mat itself""); and the discussions of rocky habitats--a limestone escarpment, the vast Canadian shield--provide further education in the fecundity of unpromising environments. The pages are peppered with delicate, sturdy drawings in color and black-and-white--the House Cricket and Meadow Vole, a tangle of lichens, deer prints and pellets, the lineaments of each landscape. Not nearly everything described is pictured, however, and terms are not systematically defined. But readers with a set of guides handy, and some basic knowledge, will find this a fetching little volume to look into before a trip, or to take along.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Scribners