In Search of Swampland introduces readers to the ecology and natural beauty of the wetlands, one of our most important natural resources. It provides an overview of wetland ecology with emphasis on factors important to wetland identification and recognition. Designed for readers with little or no training in wetland science, this heavily illustrated field guide serves as a valuable resource for the scientist or amateur naturalist. Traditionally, Americans have viewed wetland areas as wastelands, places to be drained and converted for farming or housing. To date, over half of the country's wetlands that existed when the Pilgrims first landed in America have been destroyed. Today these "wastelands" are beginning to be recognized as one of the world's most valuable natural resources. They are the temperate zone equivalent of rain forests, serving vital life-sustaining functions in water-quality renovation, aquatic ecosystem productivity, and biodiversity, as well as providing benefits such as flood-damage protection, shoreline stabilization, and commercial and recreational fisheries. In Search of Swampland provides an overview of wetland ecology, status, and trends, covering wetland characteristics, formation, functions and values, causes of wetland loss and degradation, and wetland protection and can serve as a field guide to wetland plants, soils, animals, and wetland identification and delineation. It includes descriptions and illustrations of more than 300 wetland plants and 200 wetland animals (with clear identification keys), information on how to distinguish typical hydric or "wet" soils from dryland soils, and general procedures for identifying wetlands in the field. While the book focuses on wetlands of the northeastern United States (from Maine through Maryland and west to Ohio and Kentucky), many of the plants and animals described in the book are common throughout much of the eastern U.S. It also includes a list of Northeastern wetlands to visit and suggestions on how we can all help save these vital, threatened areas.
Publication of In Search of Swampland was made possible in part by a grant from Sweet Water Trust.