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The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa

The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa
Cornelia F. Mutel
University of Iowa Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 297 pp., $27.50

Ecologist Cornelia Mutel writes in a lyrical style as she recalls the natural history of the Iowa landscape, beginning with its geology and distinctive landforms before the introduction of migrating vegetation and animal life. She tells of the impact of the first humans onto the prairie scene and how eventually their settlement and cultivation of crops affected native plant and animal communities. Her narrative continues with a look at today's landscape, the attempts to restore its original beauty, and her advice on nature preservation. In conclusion, she stresses the importance of environmental education for Iowa's citizens, so that they will be active supporters of returning the land to its native splendor. Nicely illustrated with archival and contemporary photographs, as well as maps and drawings of vegetation, this text deserves high praise for its presentation of scientific research in support of the goal of restoring the emerald horizon.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden