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The Historical Ecology Handbook: A Restorationist's Guide to Reference Ecosystems

The Historical Ecology Handbook: A Restorationist's Guide to Reference Ecosystem
Dave Egan and Evelyn A. Howell
Island Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 457 p., $30

Based on a forum at the 1999 annual conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration, this book contains 17 papers by 21 authors on a rich variety of approaches to restoration. Within a wide designation of "historic," contributions in this book are grouped into three broad sections: cultural evidence, biological evidence and a synthesis of both historical and observational information.

The first part of the book proves the value of ethnography, historical documents, interviews, maps, photographs and surveys in restoring the biological and botanical past in a given area. However, the papers in the second section, which examine the use of field (or biological) evidence, are even more compelling. In it, the information gained by field studies is frequently combined with archeological and paleontological data. These papers provide a good review of the literature on the use of palynology, dendrochronology, middens, geomorphology and other restoraton resources. The last section pulls all of these techniques together, with compelling descriptions of plant and animal communities in the Indiana Dunes, Nantucket and the Grand Canyon region.

For anyone interested in "recent" paleoecology, this book provides an excellent review of current techniques and methodologies. It certainly will inspire new approaches to the ever-fascinating science of ecological restoration.

— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden