The Natural Communities of Georgia by Leslie Edwards is a comprehensive guide that provides an ecological context to enhance understanding of the natural history of Georgia.
The book explores the state’s impressive range of natural communities, assemblages of interacting species that have either been minimally impacted by modern human activities or have successfully recovered from them.
The guide makes the case that identifying these distinctive communities and the factors that determine their distribution are central to understanding Georgia’s ecological diversity and the steps necessary for its conservation.
The book is logically organized, covering the wide range of ecosystems in Georgia (from the mountains to the sea), describing what makes them unique, and exploring conservation issues, including rare or declining species, current and future threats to specific areas, and research needs.
The description of each natural community includes traits that make it interesting and significant, physical factors and ecological processes that determine the distribution and characteristics of each community, typical plant communities, representative or noteworthy animals, and sidebars that discuss particularly interesting features.
Within Georgia’s five major ecoregions, the editors identify and describe a total of sixty-six natural communities, such as the expansive salt marshes of the barrier islands in the Maritime ecoregion, the fire-driven longleaf pine woodlands of the Coastal Plain, the beautiful granite outcrops of the Piedmont, the rare prairies of the Ridge and Valley, and the diverse coves of the Blue Ridge.
What I Liked
I loved, loved, loved this book. I am fascinated by natural communities and ecology, but do not have a science bent or training. This book puts together all of Georgia’s (where I live) natural communities in a super-accessible volume. I love that it also gives directions on where to find the community in the wild.
What I Did Not Like
It’s a doorstop. It’s also crazy expensive (but available for free online and at the library!)