366 pages, colour & b/w illustrations, maps
Think of the Highlands as the "backyard" and "backstop" of the Philadelphia–New York–Hartford metroplex. A backyard that spans over three million acres across Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, the Highlands serves as recreational open space for the metroplex's burgeoning human population. As backstop, Highlands' watersheds provide a ready source of high-quality drinking water for over fifteen million people.
The Highlands is the first book to examine the natural and cultural landscape of this four-state region, showing how it's distinctive and why its conservation is vital. Each chapter is written by a different leading researcher and specialist in that field, and introduces readers to another aspect of the Highlands: its geological foundations, its aquifers and watersheds, its forest ecology, its past iron industry.
In the 1800s, the Highlands were mined, cutover, and then largely abandoned. Given time, the forests regenerated, the land healed, and the waters cleared. Increasingly, however, the Highlands are under assault again – polluted runoff contaminating lakes and streams, invasive species choking out the local flora and fauna, exurban sprawl blighting the rural landscape, and climate change threatening the integrity of its ecosystems.
The Highlands makes a compelling case for land use planning and resource management strategies that could help ensure a sustainable future for the region, strategies that could in turn be applied to other landscapes threatened by urbanization across the country. The Highlands are a valuable resource. And now, so is The Highlands.
"The Highlands is a valuable resource for those interested in the geology, hydrology, plant and animal life, and land use of this fourstate area. Environmental historians will be interested in the ways the collection brings together quantifiable scientific data with human histories. The collection clearly lays out how natural resources and ecosystem functions are invaluable to local and regional populations and offers readers a persuasive argument for responsible land use. After reading a selection or all of these chapters, readers will have a clear conception of the composition of the nature of the Highlands."
– Environmental History
"The Highlands exemplifies why protection of New Jersey's Highlands is so important for the future of the state. It is an essential read on the multiple resources of the region."
– Julia Somers, Executive Director, New Jersey Highlands Coalition
"The Highlands is a thorough, comprehensive and significant study of a beloved region. It describes treasured landscapes, critical water resources and centuries of land use and convinces the reader that its future is our responsibility."
– Eileen Swan, Executive Director NJ Highlands Council
"The Highlands is an encyclopedic study of a cultural landscape. It is a comprehensive resource and a valuable reference for those interested in the Highlands region."
"The Highlands makes a compelling case for land-use planning and resource management strategies that could help ensure a sustainable future for the region, strategies that could in turn be applied to other landscapes threatened by urbanization across the country."
– Northeastern Naturalist
"This book should be useful to anyone interested in this 'backyard' region so close to the Philadelphia–New York–Hartford metroplex. Recommended."
List of Illustrations and Tables
Richard G. Lathrop Jr.
Part I Geological Setting
1 Bedrock Geology of the Highlands
Alexander E. Gates and David W. Valentino
2 Glaciation and Landscape History
Scott D. Stanford
3 Major Soils of the Highlands
John C. F. Tedrow and Richard K. Shaw
Part II Water and Watersheds
4 Groundwater and Surface Water Hydrology
Otto S. Zapecza, Donald E. Rice, and Vincent T. dePaul
5 Water Supply Resources
Daniel J. Van Abs
Part III Biodiversity
6 Forest History of the Highlands
Emily W. B. (Russell) Southgate
7 Forest Ecology
William S. F. Schuster
8 Wetlands of the Highlands Region
Joan G. Ehrenfeld
9 An Overview of the Vascular Plants of the Highlands and the Threats to Plant Biodiversity
Gerry Moore and Steven Glenn
10 Wildlife of the Highlands
Elizabeth A. Johnson
Part IV People and the Land
11 Ironworking in the Highlands
Theodore W. Kury and Peter O. Wacker
12 Agriculture and Urban Development Patterns in the Highlands
Richard G. Lathrop Jr.
13 Open Space and Recreation in the Highlands
14 Land-Use Planning and Policy in the Highlands
Robert Pirani, Thomas A. Gilbert, and Corey Piasecki
15 Future Vision of the Highlands
Richard G. Lathrop Jr., Mary L. Tyrrell, and Myrna Hall
Notes on Contributors
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Richard G. Lathrop, Jr. is a professor in the department of ecology, evolution, and natural resources and director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis at Rutgers University. He has been actively involved in Highlands environmental policy and research for many years.