VIEW FROM BALD HILL
Thirty Years in an Arizona Grassland
by Carl E. Bock and Jane H. Bock
University of California Press, 2000
Bald Hill is a rounded prominence just south of the small town of Elgin in southeast Arizona a dozen or so miles from the Mexico border. The mound looks out over the Sonoita Basin, a high desert grassland once populated with tens of thousands of cattle.
After nearly a century of heavy livestock grazing, new owners of the ranch which spread across much of the grassland converted the property into an environmental preserve and natural ecological laboratory. Today the ranch is managed by the National Audubon Society, which hired the authors -- both University of Colorado biology professors -- to conduct field studies with the goal of understanding the dynamics of the ecosystem.
After 30 years, the Bocks prepared this report on their findings, detailing what they've learned about the grassland's climate, plant and animal species, introductions and human impacts.
"Some hard data are included here, in the form of tables and graphs, because we believe any person interested in environmental matters deserves to see the numbers themselves and not just somebody's opinions about what they might mean," they explain. "But we also have attempted to personalize our account, to make it not just informative but also interesting to anyone with a passion for the natural bounty and a concern for the future of our nation's grasslands."
Illustrated with black and white photos throughout, the Bock's report documents the unique nature of grassland ecosystems and pleads the case for a change in human attitudes and land use management.
228 pages. $14.95
In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado introduced the first domestic livestock to the American Southwest. Over the subsequent four centuries, cattle, horses, and sheep have created a massive ecological experiment on these arid grasslands, changing them in ways we can never know with certainty. The Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch in the high desert of southeastern Arizona is an 8,000-acre sanctuary where grazing has been banned since 1968. In this spirited account of thirty years of research at the ranch, Carl and Jane Bock summarize the results of their fieldwork, which was aimed at understanding the dynamics of grasslands in the absence of livestock.
Road Guide USA
North American Guide to Nude Recreation
|NEW NATURAL HISTORIES||
Hardcover. 225 pages. $37.95
|NEW NATURE WRITING
NATURAL HISTORIES AND NATURE WRITING
Available August, 2000
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