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Landscape – the unique combination of landforms, plants, animals, and weather that compose any natural place – is inherently transient. Each essay in Transient Landscapes introduces this idea of a constantly metamorphosing global landscape, revealing how to see the ubiquity of landscape transience, both that which results through Earth's natural environmental and climatological processes and that which comes from human intervention.
The essays are grouped by type of environmental change: long-term, large-scale transformation driven by geologic forces such as tectonic uplift and volcanism; natural variability at shorter time scales, such as seasonal flooding; and modifications resulting from human activities, such as timber harvest, land drainage, and pollution. Each essay is set in a unique geographic location – including such diverse places as New Zealand, Northern California, Costa Rica, and the Scottish Highlands – and is largely drawn from Wohl's personal experience researching in the field.
A combination of travel writing, nature writing, and science writing, Transient Landscapes is a beautiful and thoughtful journey through the natural world.
Ellen Wohl teaches geology at Colorado State University. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America and a Fulbright Fellow. She has received the G. K. Gilbert Award from the Association of American Geographers and the Kirk Bryan Award from the Geological Society of America and has written nine books including Wide Rivers Crossed, Island of Grass, and Transient Landscapes.
"Combining scientific information with an accessible writing style, Ellen Wohl, PhD, gives the readers an understanding of our planet's geologic and geographic changes, with descriptions of each representative location you will visit with her. For nonscientific readers like this reviewer, the experience will be an epiphany, and you will probably find yourself rereading individual sections to savor them more fully later."
– Virginia McConnell Simmons, Colorado Central Magazine