Friday, November 04, 2005

Vegetation "must-read" resource

Vegetation of Southern Africa , edited by R.M. Cowling, D.M. Richardson and S.M. Pierce is a core resource for those working on the Vegetation Resources Management component of the Okavango Delta Management Plan. The 615 page volume , compiled from work by forty-eight Southern African experts, is the first comprehensive account of the region's vegetation, so clearly written and free of jargon that it was featured in a review on the Humanities and Social Sciences H-Net online forum:

"The main part of the book is part 2, "Biomes," a discussion of the discrete entitities that comprise the various vegetation zones (or eco-regions). Here, and in ten detailed chapters, each of southern Africa's biomes is considered, explained, and analyzed in terms of structure, functions, boundaries, environmental drivers, and processes. There are separate themed chapters on coastal vegetation, freshwater wetlands, and marine vegetation. Part 3 ("Ecological themes") consists of eight chapters. Dealing with issues like fire, herbivory, and species diversity, it also includes humans directly in the story, and this is narrated in terms of human use of plants and human impacts on vegetation (agriculture, population growth, plant introductions, and conservation policy and practice)."

The book has a glossary of terms and two indexes, one by subject matter and the other by biota and taxa. Helpful illustrations, maps, and graphs appear throughout the book. The Okavango Delta is featured in Chapter 14, Freshwater Wetlands.

You can find the book in HOORC's Library.

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