I just read Reading the Landscape of America by May Theilgaard Watts. It is an excellent popular introduction to understanding what you see as you walk and drive around the USA.

Reading the Landscape of America contains good descriptions of succession and development in various communities, extending back to the last ice age. This helps in understanding what grows where, why places with similar geography and climate can be so different, and why some ecosystems are fragile (or endangered) and others are more robust. Being able to figure out why what you see is where it is, and understand the implications, makes visiting new places–or revisiting familiar places–more enjoyable and enriching. It’s too bad I didn’t read this book a few years ago.

I read the second (1975) edition, which adds to the first (1957) edition. Many chapters in the second edition add a “Revisited” section, where Watts went to the same places years later. It’d be great if a current ecologist would write additional “Revisited” sections to cover the changes of the landscape and science in the past thirty-five years. I’d buy a copy. Either way, I’ll probably read this book again.

This book is now published by Nature Study Guild Publishers and is on Google Books. The cover image is from the publisher.

BibTeX citation:

	Author = {May Theilgaard Watts},
	Publisher = {Macmillan Publishing},
	Title = {Reading the Landscape of America},
	Year = {1975}