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Shallow wetlands, or playas, are key ecosystems in the western Great Plains of North America. Providing irreplaceable habitat for native plants and animals, including migratory birds, they are essential for the maintenance of biotic diversity throughout the region. Playas also serve to recharge the aquifer that supplies much of the water for the Plains states. At the same time, however, large-scale habitat changes have endangered playas across the Great Plains, making urgent the need to understand their ecology and implement effective conservation measures. This book provides a state-of-the-art survey of all that is currently known about Great Plains playa ecology and conservation and covers their origin, development, flora, fauna, structure, function, and diversity.
This is a very significant contribution to the field of wetland ecology. Playa wetlands are very widespread and important, yet there have been few attempts to pull together all of the playa scientific articles and studies into one place. It is especially valuable that this book summarizes many of the recent scientific discoveries about these wetlands. --Ted LaGrange, Wetland Program Manager, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
List of Illustrations; List of Tables; Preface Playas and Their Environment; 1. What Is a Playa?; 2. Origin and Development Ecosystem Aspects; 3. Flora; 4. Fauna; 5. Structure, Function, and Diversity Conservation Aspects; 6. Historical, Cultural, and Current Societal Value of Playas; 7. Threats to Proper Function of Playas; 8. Conservation Past, Present, and Future Appendix; References; Index
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