The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors

Paperback | May 12, 2005

byErnest H. Williams

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Nature is full of fascinating stories, stories that attract our attention at a young age and keep us amazed throughout our entire lives. The need to understand nature draws us back to its simple beauty again and again, yet underneath this simplicity lies a complex web of associations andpatterns. The Nature Handbook does what no other field guide does: explores and explains nature through these connecting patterns, revealing them to the many different types of nature lovers. All naturalists-- from birders to gardeners, hikers to environmentalists, wildflower enthusiasts to butterfliers-- will appreciate the different approach of the Handbook, even those whose interest in the natural world is just beginning to develop. Naturalists who are already well versed inone group of organisms--birders, for example--will find new explanations and patterns for their favorite group, as well as new patterns all around them that they had previously overlooked. Observations in the Handbook are arranged in the three main sections of plants, animals, and habitats. Thesesections are then connected through discussions of the relationship of size and shape, adaptations, distribution patterns, behavior, and diversity of life. Since the emphasis is on patterns rather than individual species, each chapter has cross-references to related topics. For example, tree-relatedtopics such as leaf shape, treelines, and fall colors, are all discussed in different chapters even though they are related. Leaf shape is associated with trees as organisms, and therefore is in Chapter 2: Trees; treelines are most associated with mountains, so their description is in Chapter 8:Mountains; fall colors apply more broadly to forests than to individual trees, and they are discussed in Chapter 9,Forests. Approximately 500 color photographs help make the more than 200 patterns apparent and recognizable for readers, and each pattern is accompanied by a detailed description and a brief list of sources. The book is designed to invite browsing, and readers will gain a rich ecological perspective andinsight. Curiosity about the world around us is a basis for human learning; The Nature Handbook serves to aid all nature lovers in their quest for understanding the many stories that our living world provides.

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From the Publisher

Nature is full of fascinating stories, stories that attract our attention at a young age and keep us amazed throughout our entire lives. The need to understand nature draws us back to its simple beauty again and again, yet underneath this simplicity lies a complex web of associations andpatterns. The Nature Handbook does what no other ...

Ernest H. Williams, Jr. is Leonard C. Ferguson Professor and Chair in the Department of Biology at Hamilton College (NY). He is co-author of The Butterfly Book and editor and co-author of A Marsh for All Seasons.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.91 × 9.02 × 0.91 inPublished:May 12, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195171942

ISBN - 13:9780195171945

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Table of Contents

I. Plants1. Flowers and Seeds2. Trees3. Plant FeaturesII. Animals4. Color and Patterns5. Ecology and Behavior6. Birds7. InsectsIII. Habitats8. Mountains9. Forests10. Field and Meadows11. Desert and Prairies12. Water and Wetlands13. Coasts14. Global Patterns

Editorial Reviews

" The Nature Handbook defines a unique niche among guidebooks and research literature- and does an excellent job of filling it" -- The Quarterly Review of Biology