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A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California

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I just finished reading A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California by Laura Cunningham.  The author uses her experience as a biologist and artist to reconstruct ecosystems and interactions of California's past using what we know of nature today.  You do not need to be a biologist to appreciate this experience. The book will take you to California's shoreline, oak savannas,  a pristine Delta ecosystem, and deserts, allowing you to observe the interactions among plant and wildlife as it existed in the past.  But this is not just a history book, either.  The author uses her field work observing relict or remaining populations of natural life to reconstruct the past and explain how these landscapes continue to evolve today.  For example, she vividly describes and sketches the majestic California condor and how it behaves with other birds based on hours of her own studies, and recounts her observation of elk herds being stalked by wolves in Yellowstone, where the two spe…

A couple of books worth reading...

When I'm not reading the beautiful prose of the California Energy Commission or the determined theatrics of evidentiary hearing transcripts, I try to find time to read books on desert ecology and environmental policy.  I've just finished two books that I think are worth reading, especially for people that are passionate about desert conservation and sensible environmental policy.


Endangered: Biodiversity on the Brink, by Mitch Tobin

Tobin's new book draws from his experience as a journalist in America's Southwest, which often involved working to understand multiple sides of a particular story or policy issue.  He uses this access and experience to share his broad perspective on policy and societal issues that impact how we as a country triage environmental damage.  Endangered examines the role of multiple stakeholders--from municipal to federal government agencies, to ranchers, recreationists, and the spectrum of environmental NGOs--and how these actors' decisions i…