By: David J Schmidly
534 pages, 144 B/w photos, 43 maps
One hundred years ago, Texas was very different. A rural population was spread thinly across the eastern and central parts of the state, and vast lands in the western regions were still undisturbed. Wolves, both gray and red; black bears; black-footed ferrets; cougars; and many other species of wildlife that are now reduced or extinct were common then. In 1905, Vernon Bailey, chief naturalist for the U.S. Biological Survey, published his comprehensive survey of the status of mammals in Texas at that time. Now, nearly one hundred years later, David Schmidly compares Bailey's report with the status of mammals in the state today. The result is a look back at what has happened to the natural environment in Texas during the twentieth century. Bailey's 216-page survey report is included as chapter 2. In Chapter 3, Schmidly annotates the report, and in the three following chapters he discusses changes in landscapes, land use, and the status of mammals in the last hundred years. The closing chapter looks ahead at the author's projection into the twenty-first century and coming challenges for wildlife conservation. Photographs from the early years of the twentieth century and maps of the distribution of mammals then and now illustrate the volume, which also contains a cross-reference list of scientific names and common names of mammals and plants and an extensive reference list. This book will give Texas citizens a close and authoritative view of how their land once looked. More importantly, it will tell them what has happened to their wildlife heritage and what they might do to protect it in the future.
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