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From eastern Texas the remnants of a once-magnificent forest, nurtured by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, extend a thousand miles to the Atlantic shore and as far north as Chesapeake Bay. This unique woodland gave birth to two woodpeckers, one large-the ivory-billed woodpecker, which has not been sighted in over ten years and which is almost surely extinct-and the other small-the red-cockaded woodpecker, which may yet be saved.
What distinguishes this bird from others is its unique niche. Its adaptations make it totally dependent on pine trees in an open forest. This ecosystem-that of the loblolly pine tree forest-is the bird's onlly habitat. But these southeastern pine trees are valuable natural resources. Having withstood the ravages of nature for thousands of years, it is now entirely possible that the woodpecker will be lost because of a combination of "benign neglect" and commercial interests.
For over fifteen years the ornithologist Robert W. McFarlane has been involved-as researcher, expert witness, negotiator, and advocate-in the struggle to save the red-cockaded woodpecker. In A Stillness in the Pines he explains what is at stake.
"Densely packed, adroitly written life history of the red-cockaded woodpecker [...] Expand[s] our understanding of a single species into a broad appreciation of ecology."
- Kirkus Reviews
"A wonderful book [...] will be enjoyed by anyone with interest in either birds or the impact that humanity is having on its fellow travelers on spaceship earth."
- Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb