A Natural History of the Mojave Desert provides a lively and informed guide to understanding how life has adapted to the hidden riverbeds, huge salt flats, tiny wetlands, and windswept hills that characterize this iconic desert.
Water in the West is a precious commodity. It may come as a surprise that, on average, more than half of residential water use in this region goes to outdoor irrigation--our lawns, plants, and landscapes. In some desert cities, outdoor water use during the warm summer months accounts for more than 70 percent of home water consumption. ...
This lavishly illustrated and informatively written book offers readers a guide to the Sonoran Desert that will enhance their understanding of the plants and animals that live there. Designed to be carried easily when traveling, it will enable the whole family to identify commonly found annuals, perennials, cactuses, shrubs, and trees, as ...
When Jim Stiles moved west from Kentucky in the 1970s to make Moab, Utah, his home, that corner of the rural West had already endured decades of obscurity, a uranium boom and then a bust, and was facing an identity crisis. What kind of economy would prevent Moab from becoming yet another ghost town? For more than two decades, ...
The return of the Mexican gray wolf to Arizona's Blue Range in 1998 marked more than a victory for an endangered species. Long hated by ranchers, the gray wolf had been hunted to the brink of extinction until one woman took on the challenge of restoring it to its natural habitat. Inspired by the plight of the Mexican gray wolf, retiree Bobbie Holaday formed the citizens advocacy group Preserve Arizona's Wolves (P.A.WS.) in 1987 and embarked on a crusade to raise public awareness. She soon found herself in the center of a firestorm of controversy, with environmentalists taking sides against ranchers and neighbors against neighbors. This book tells her story for the first time, documenting her eleven-year effort to bring the gray wolf back to the Blue.
As Holaday quickly learned, ranchers exerted considerable control over the state legislature, and politicians in turn controlled decisions made by wildlife agencies. Even though the wolf had been listed as endangered since 1976, opposition to it was so strong that the Arizona Game and Fish Department had been unable to launch a recovery program. In The Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf, Holaday describes first-hand the tactics she and other ordinary citizens on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team adopted to confront these obstacles. Enhanced with more than 40 photographs32 in colorher account chronicles both the triumphs of reintroduction and the heartbreaking tragedies the wolves encountered during early phases.
Thanks to Holaday's perseverance, eleven wolves were released into the wild in 1998, and the Blue Range once again echoed with their howls. Her tenacity was an inspiration to all those she enlisted in the cause, and her story is a virtual primer for conservation activists on mobilizing at the grassroots level. The Return of the Mexican Gray Wolf shows that one person can make a difference in a seemingly hopeless cause and will engage all readers concerned with the preservation of wildlife.
All royalties go to the Mexican Wolf Trust Fund administered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Cities in the arid West would not be what they are today without water and the technology needed to deliver it to users. The history of water development in Arizona goes hand in hand with the state's economic growth, and Arizona's future is inextricably tied to this scarce resource. Fuel for Growth describes and interprets the history of water resource development and its relationship to urban development in Arizona's three signature cities: Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. These three urban areas could hardly be more different: a growth-oriented metropolis, an environmentally conscious city with deep cultural roots, and an outdoor-friendly mountain town. Despite these differences, their community leaders and public officials have taken similar approaches to developing water resources with varying degrees of success and acceptance. Douglas Kupel has created a new vision of water history based on the Arizona experience. He challenges many of the traditional assumptions of environmental history by revealing that the West's aridity has had relatively little impact on the development of municipal water infrastructure in these cities. While urban growth in the West is often characterized as the product of an elite group of water leaders, the development of Arizona's cities is shown to reflect the broad aspirations of all their citizens. The book traces water development from the era of private water service to municipal ownership of water utilities and examines the impact of the post-World War II boom and subsequent expansion. Taking in the Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Project, and the Groundwater Management Act of 1980, Kupel explores the ongoing struggle between growth and environmentalism. He advocates public policy measures that can sustain a water future for the state. As the urban West enters a new century of water management, Arizona's progress will increasingly be tied to that of its ever-expanding cities. Fuel for Growth documents an earlier era of urban water use and provides important recommendations for the future path of water development in the West's key population centers.
"Painting, architecture, politics, even gardening and golfall have their critics and commentators," observes Stephen Pyne. "Fire does not." Aside from news reports on fire disasters, most writing about fire appears in government reports and scientific papersand in journalism that has more in common with the sports page than the editorial page. Smokechasing presents commentaries by one of America's leading fire scholars, who analyzes fire the way another might an election campaign or a literary work.
"Smokechasing" is an American coinage describing the practice of sending firefighters into the wild to track down the source of reported smoke. Now a self-described "friendly fire critic" tracks down more of the history and lore of fire in a collection that focuses on wildland fire and its management. Building on and complementing a previous anthology, World Fire, this new collection features thirty-two original articles and substantial revisions of works that have previously appeared in print.
Pyne addresses many issues that have sparked public concern in the wake of disastrous wildfires in the West, such as fire ecology, federal fire management, and questions relating to fire suppression. He observes that the mistake in fire policy has been not that wildfires are suppressed but that controlled fires are no longer ignited; yet the attempted forced reintroduction of fire through prescribed burning has proved difficult, and sometimes damaging. There are, Pyne argues, many fire problems; some have technical solutions, some not. But there is no evading humanity's unique power and responsibility: what we don't do may be as ecologically powerful as what we do.
Throughout the collection, Pyne makes it clear that humans and fire interact at particular places and times to profoundly shape the world, and that understanding the contexts in which fire occurs can tell us much about the world's natural and cultural landscapes. Fire's context gives it its meaning, and Smokechasing not only helps illuminate those contexts but also shows us how to devise new contexts for tomorrow's fires.
Since the beginning of the reservation era, the bitter conflict between Indians and non-Indians over water rights was largely confined to the courtroom. But in the 1980s the federal government began to emphasize negotiated settlements over lawsuits, and the settlements are changing water rights in fundamental waysnot only for tribes but also for non-Indian communities that share scarce water resources with Indians.
In Native Waters, Daniel McCool describes the dramatic impact these settlements are having both on Indian country and on the American West as a whole. Viewing the settlements as a second treaty era, he considers whether they will guarantee the water future of reservationsor, like treaties of old, will require tribes to surrender vast resources in order to retain a small part of their traditional homelands. As one tribal official observed, "It's like your neighbors have been stealing your horses for many years, and now we have to sit down and decide how many of those horses they get to keep." Unlike technical studies of water policy, McCool's book is a readable account that shows us real people attempting to end real disputes that have been going on for decades. He discusses specific water settlements using a combination of approachesfrom personal testimony to traditional social science methodologyto capture the richness, complexity, and human texture of the water rights conflict. By explaining the processes and outcomes in plain language and grounding his presentation in relevant explanations of Indian culture, he conveys the complexity of the settlements for readers from a wide range of disciplines.
Native Waters illustrates how America is coming to grips with an issue that has long been characterized by injustice and conflict, seeking to enhance our understanding of the settlements in the hope that this understanding will lead to better settlements for all parties. As one of the first assessments of a policy that will have a pervasive impact for centuries to come, it shows that how we resolve Indian water claims tells us a great deal about who we are as a nation and how we confront difficult issues involving race, culture, and the environment.
One of the most recognizable animals of the Southwest, the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) makes its home in both the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts, as well as in tropical areas to the south in Mexico. Called by Tohono O'odham people "komik'c-ed," or "shell with living thing inside," it is one of the few desert creatures kept as a domestic petas well as one of the most studied reptiles in the world.
Most of our knowledge of desert tortoises comes from studies of Mohave Desert populations in California and Nevada. However, the ecology, physiology, and behavior of these northern populations are quite different from those of their southern, Sonoran Desert, and tropical cousins, which have been studied much less. Differences in climate and habitat have shaped the evolution of three races of desert tortoises as they have adapted to changes in heat, rainfall, and sources of food and shelter as the deserts developed in the last ten million years.
This book presents the first comprehensive summary of the natural history, biology, and conservation of the Sonoran and Sinaloan desert tortoises, reviewing the current state of knowledge of these creatures with appropriate comparisons to Mohave tortoises. It condenses a vast amount of information on population ecology, activity, and behavior based on decades of studying tortoise populations in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and also includes important material on the care and protection of tortoises.
Thirty-two contributors address such topics as tortoise fossil records, DNA analysis, and the mystery of secretive hatchlings and juveniles. Tortoise health is discussed in chapters on the care of captives, and original data are presented on the diets of wild and captive tortoises, the nutrient content of plant foods, and blood parameters of healthy tortoises. Coverage of conservation issues includes husbandry methods for captive tortoises, an overview of protective measures, and an evaluation of threats to tortoises from introduced grass and wildfires. A final chapter on cultural knowledge presents stories and songs from indigenous peoples and explores their understanding of tortoises.
As the only comprehensive book on the desert tortoise, this volume gathers a vast amount of information for scientists, veterinarians, and resource managers while also remaining useful to general readers who keep desert tortoises as backyard pets. It will stand as an enduring reference on this endearing creature for years to come.
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