Read e-book online A Natural History of the Central Appalachians PDF

By Steven L. Stephenson

ISBN-10: 1933202688

ISBN-13: 9781933202686

Central Appalachia is the process of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain present in western and southwestern Virginia, jap and significant West Virginia, western Maryland, and a part of south critical and southwestern Pennsylvania. via its concise and available strategy, A traditional background of the crucial Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the vegetation, animals, and different organisms of this zone of jap North America.
With over one hundred twenty photos, this article offers an outline of the panorama of this area, together with the foremost adjustments that experience taken position over the prior three hundred million years; describes the differing kinds of forests and different plant groups at the moment found in relevant Appalachia; and examines dwelling platforms starting from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. via a attention of the historical past of people within the sector, starting with the coming of the 1st local americans, A average heritage of the vital Appalachians also discusses the previous, current, and destiny affects of human task upon this geographic area.

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Extra info for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

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COAL SWAMP FORESTS “Coal swamp forests,” or “coal forests,” are highly important in the context of the human history of the Central Appalachians, since they are the source of the large deposits of organic material that ultimately became converted into coal. Although the landscape upon which they formed apparently had little topographic relief, there were areas of higher ground along with poorly drained areas that had standing water. In addition, there must have been slowly flowing streams, ponds, and lakes of 31 32 FIGURE 10 Diorama of a Carboniferous forest with some of its early tetrapod inhabitants FIGURE 11 (opposite) The pattern of diamondshaped leaf scars on a fossil of Lepidodendron various sizes.

He referred to the relationship of topography and environment as a “topographic moisture gradient,” and this concept has been used to help explain the overall pattern of vegetation for a number of other mountainous regions of the world. On clear, calm nights, especially during the spring and fall, the layer of air next to the ground on a ridgetop becomes colder than the air above it. Under the influence of gravity, this colder air moves (“flows”) down slope and accumulates on the floor of the adjacent valley.

About 450 million years ago, during the latter part of the Ordovician, the first true macroscopic (and multicellular) land plants appeared. It seems that they would have been similar in appearance to some of the simple liverworts that survive today. These early multicellular land plants did not have specialized water-conducting (or vascular) tissue, which severely limited both their distribution and the size they could attain. The oldest known fossils of plants with vascular tissue date back to the Silurian, about 420 million years ago.

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A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson


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