For those who like a bit of fun with their education, I am delighted to report on a recently arrived book that melds very clever, lovely imagery with a remarkable collection of information on the history of botanical history: the Explorers’ Botanical Notebook: In the Footsteps of Theophrastus, Marco Polo, Linnaeus, Flinders, Darwin, Speke and Hooker from Firefly Books.
Despite their vast, open stretches of sand where, other than some waving swaths of unusually hardy grasses, living things seem sparsely represented at best, the dunes of the Pacific Northwest are actually teeming with a wide ranging variety of life – if you know where to look.
When you really come right down to it, it’s the little things that matter most; the small, too easily overlooked details that are the foundation upon which so much ultimately depends. In the oceans it’s the myriad forms of plankton that form the foundation of the food chains upon which so much of the life there depends, and on land it’s the mosses, fungi, lichen, and plants that live along the ground in the boundary layer between the earth and the atmosphere that likewise keep so many ecological systems running.
In The Quiet Extinction; Stories of North America’s Rare and Threatened Plants, Kara Rogers appears to be picking up where she left off in Out of Nature in bringing to light the precarious existence of a number of plant species throughout the continent that are – as the title so poignantly states – quietly slipping out of existence.