240 pages, b/w illustrations, maps
Louisiana's bayous and their watersheds teem with cypress trees, alligators, crawfish, and many other life forms. From Bayou Tigre to Half Moon Bayou, these sluggish streams meander through lowlands, marshes, and even uplands to dominate the state's landscape. In Bayou-Diversity, conservationist Kelby Ouchley reveals the bayou's intricate web of flora and fauna.
Through a collection of essays about Louisiana's natural history, Ouchley details an amazing array of plants and animals found in the Bayou State. Baldcypress, orchids, feral hogs, eels, black bears, bald eagles, and cottonmouth snakes live in the well over 400 bayous of the region. Collectively, Ouchley's vignettes portray vibrant and complex habitats. But human interaction with the bayou and our role in its survival, Ouchley argues, will determine the future of these intricate ecosystems.
Bayou-Diversity narrates the story of the bayou one wildflower, one creature at a time, in turn illustrating the bigger picture of this treasured and troubled Louisiana landscape.
"Kelby Ouchley has given us an unforgettable collection of essays on the natural history of Louisiana. Nothing escapes his attention: ticks, lightning, stray cats, oil spills, sluggish water, snakebite myths and remedies, the origin of his great-grandmother's rocking chair. At the heart is an acute understanding of Louisiana ecology – how it works and should work. The essays are beautifully written: thermal wind currents are 'bubbles of air that serve as elevators for raptors.' In five paragraphs, Ouchley completely changed my understanding of teeth. I haven't enjoyed or learned so much about the natural history of a place since I read Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac."
– Phillip Hoose, National Book Award-winning author of The Race to Save the Lord God Bird
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