BEN # 235

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Sat Nov 13 11:04:31 EST 1999


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No. 235                              November 13, 1999

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
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 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
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DISCUSSION ON RELEVANCE OF SPECIMEN CITATIONS
From:  Snow,  N. & P.L. Keating. 1999. Relevance of specimen 
   citations to conservation. Conservation biology 13: 943-94.

In their recent paper, Snow and Keating  revisit  the  topic  of
specimen  citation  in  systematic  studies. Their concern stems
from the significant decrease in comprehensiveness (total number
of citations) and level of  detail in citations by a few import-
ant botanical journals. They urge botanists and journal  editors
to increase both the comprehensiveness  and  detail  in specimen
citation lists.

The authors cite examples of  systematic  monographs  where  the
information  about  specimens  was  reduced to mere dots on dis-
tribution maps or to the citation of collectors and  collections
numbers without any other location data.

"Some  journal  editors  apparently have forgotten that specimen
citations in monographs constitute the primary public source  of
all new locality information, and these data are often of impor-
tant  consideration  in conservation biology. Editorial policies
that allow generous (but not unlimited) specimen citations would
best serve the information needs of biologists at large. We hope
that systematists will reconsider the value of  detailed  speci-
mens-cited  lists,  particularly  in the context of conservation
biology, and ask journal editors to amend policies that severely
limit the citation of specimens."

[P.S. I was delighted to see full citations of specimens in  Dr.
J. Phipps' recent papers on Crataegus in the Canadian Journal of
Botany  and  in  Sida. The Canadian Journal of Botany, Sida, and
Dr. Phipps should be commended for their excellent work. - AC]


BRITISH COLUMBIA NATURE CLASSIC BACK IN PRINT
From: Dr. Rhoda M. Love <rglove at oregon.uoregon.edu>

Stanwell-Fletcher, Theodora C. 1999. Driftwood Valley:  a  woman
   naturalist  in  the  northern wilderness. Northwest Reprints.
   Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR. 352 p.  ISBN 0-
   87071-524-0 [softcover] Price: US$17.95.

   For  direct  orders phone 1-800-426-3797 in U.S. (through the
   OSU Press distributor, the University of Arizona Press),  and
   1-800-663-5714  in  Canada (UBC Press, the Canadian distribu-
   tor). For further information, please contact the  OSU  Press
   at 503-282- 9801 or e-mail tbooth at teleport.com

Dr.  Theodora  C.  Stanwell-Fletcher's  classic  book, Driftwood
Valley, first published in 1946, is back in print  in  time  for
the  holidays.  Oregon  State  University Press in Corvallis has
just brought out a new edition which contains plant  and  animal
lists,  animal  sketches,  photos of the author and her husband,
their dogs and their Indian neighbors, an introduction  by  Wen-
dell  Berry,  a  new  biographical sketch of the author by Rhoda
Love and a bibliography.

Dr. Stanwell-Fletcher was one of the first women  to  receive  a
PhD from Cornell in the then new science of ecology. She and her
husband  John  lived and studied the wildlife for three years on
mile-long Lake Tetana in  the  Driftwood  Valley  wilderness  of
remote  north-central  British  Columbia. The time was the years
before WWII when the Province had not yet fallen  prey  to  run-
away  logging.  Theodora  (called  Teddy)  and John observed and
catalogued plants and animals of the region, collecting for  the
Provincial  Museum  in Victoria. They lived a genuine wilderness
adventure, building their own  log  cabin  on  Lake  Tetana  and
surviving  a  sub-arctic  winter  when the snow was over 10 feet
deep. Jack hunted moose for food and both  partners  fished  and
hauled wood daily for fuel.

Wild  birds  and  other  animals  of the area grew accustomed to
their presence and Teddy and Jack were able to  record  valuable
observations on wildlife behavior. Some of their most intriguing
observations  involved  a  pack of wolves within whose territory
they were living.

Driftwood Valley won the coveted John Burroughs medal for excel-
lence in nature writing in 1947, Teddy  being  the  first  woman
author  to  win this prestigious award. The book went through 27
printings when it first appeared, but has been out of print  for
many  years.  The  last  words  of  Teddy's book are: "Keep safe
Tetana until we come again." To complete my biographical  sketch
of  Theodora,  my  husband  and  I visited Lake Tetana this past
summer to see what changes 60 years had brought to  her  beloved
Driftwood  Valley wilderness. We found logging roads, clearcuts,
and a railroad within a  mile  of  the  Stanwell-Fletcher  cabin
site,  leaving  us with the sad feeling that the great diversity
of animal life described in Driftwood Valley must now be greatly
diminished.

I am personally grateful that OSU Press has reissued this  clas-
sic as part of their Northwest Reprints series. A new generation
of readers can now come to know this work which I have loved and
admired  for  over 50 years. By the way, Teddy is still alive at
age 93.


PACIFIC NORTHWEST CONIFERS 
From: Rudi Schmid <schmid at socrates.berkeley.edu> & Aljos  Farjon
   <a.farjon at lion.rbgkew.org.uk>,   abbreviated  from  Taxon  48
   (November 1999): 859-860, 863-864, and 868-869.

Farrar, John Laird (with additional text  by  Ken  Farr).  1998.
   Trees  in Canada on CD-ROM. Canadian Forest Service [Ottawa].
   CD-ROM,  ISBN  0-660-17394-8,  Can$54.95  (from  Fitzhenry  &
   Whiteside,  195  Allstate  Parkway, Markham L3R 4T8, Canada).
   [Also in French, Les arbres du Canada sur CD-ROM, ISBN 0-660-
   95916-X, Can$54.95 [[from FIDES, 165, rue Deslauriers, Saint-
   Laurent (Quebec) H4N 2S4, Canada]].  [Computer  requirements:
   486  or better PCs, Windows 3.1 or higher, or Macintosh, Sys.
   7.1 or higher; 16MB RAM.]

Back in Taxon 45: 396, 578, 46: 153-154 Mena  Schmid  &  I  gave
rave  reviews  of  the  various  American, Canadian, and French-
Canadian versions of John Laird  Farrar's  (1915-96)  invaluable
Trees  in Canada (1995), Trees of the northern United States and
Canada (1995), and Les arbres du Canada (1996). Hence the nicely
packaged Trees in Canada on CD-ROM  (there  is  also  a  French-
Canadian  version)  raised  considerable excitement here when it
arrived, but it immediately disappointed on use. The CD-ROM has,
it seems, all of the information in the book, including the many
fine diagrams and photos, plus some new  features  such  as  the
capability  to  show  on  one  screen  distribution maps for the
species of a genus (e.g., 9 species Pinus--there is  information
for  6  other  pine  species). However, the CD-ROM is one of the
most user unfriendly ones ever seen (other than  those  that  do
not  load  at all). I would not go so far as to say that the CD-
ROM was written by a madman, but I do think that madness of  one
sort  or  another  will  be  the  result  for  anyone using this
maladroit product. This list of problems arose within the  first
ten  minutes  of  use  of  the  CD-ROM: There is no quick launch
feature, and hence one must suffer  through  the  long  loading,
which  is  cute  for  one or two times but then is tiresome. The
program takes over the entire screen and can not be run  in  the
background. Esc exits the program without warning (necessitating
the  long  reload), and not just the current window. There is no
way to type in a name but instead one has to click on one of the
26 letters of the alphabet and then names  thereafter.  In  some
screens  one  can  only  go  backward  by going forward to a new
screen. Switching betwixt screens is very sluggish (on a Pentium
II/350 with 64MB RAM--my system even crashed  switching  between
screens).  Clicking  on  habitats  for Malus fusca brings up its
fruits. The usable key is the same as in book but it is  not  in
multiple-entry  format.  These and many other frustrations deter
from any worth that the CD-ROM has, and if  one  has  the  book,
there  is absolutely no reason to get the CD-ROM. If programmers
are going to write products for the unintelligensia, they should
not only make sure that the computer programs are usable at  all
user  levels,  but  also  field  test the products both on their
probably very computer-literate children and  on  their  undoub-
tedly  quite  computer-illiterate  parents. I regret to say that
Farrar would roll over in his grave were  he  to  know  of  this
misguided CD-ROM project done in his name. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC


Lanner, Ronald M. (featuring the art of Eugene O. Murman). 1999.
   Conifers  of  California. Cachuma Press, Box 560, Los Olivos,
   CA 93441, USA (cachuma at silcom.com). x, 274 pp., ill.  (col.),
   ISBN 0-9628505-4-3 [hard cover], US$36.95, ISBN 0-9628505-3-5
   [soft cover], US$24.95.

Conifers  are  often beautiful and fascinating, and Ron Lanner's
latest book on the subject beams  this  message  radiantly  from
almost every page. It is probably not by coincidence that he has
chosen  the Californian conifers to get this message across. Not
only is the Golden State exceptionally endowed with a  multitude
of  species  (Lanner  accepts  52 native species), it appears to
have few rival areas in the world when it comes  to  superlative
examples  of this ancient group of woody plants. It is therefore
most welcome to have a modern account of them that  is  so  well
illustrated  (54  full-page  watercolors,  165  color photos, 54
color range maps) and that is available at such a modest  price.
An  interesting  feature of this book is that it has made use of
hitherto mostly unpublished  watercolors  by  Eugene  O.  Murman
(1874- 1962) that depict botanical details for nearly all of the
conifer  species  in  California.  Five  species, namely ones of
cypress recognized by C. B. Wolf (in Aliso 1: 1-250,  1948)  but
not  generally accepted (see below), were executed for this book
by Susan Bazell, who admirably approached Murman's style.  Range
distribution  maps  given for each species are based on a little
known publication by J. R. Griffin &  W.  B.  Critchfield  (USDA
Forest  Service,  Pacific  Southwest  Research Station, research
paper, PSW-82,  1972,  with  1976  suppl.),  apparently  without
additional  data;  however,  the  maps are usually adequate in a
state for which the (woody) flora has been so well  inventoried,
even by the early 1970s. The color photography, supplied by many
photographers,  is  generally  excellent,  indeed  in some cases
superb, and includes images by such  celebrated  nature  photog-
raphers  as  David  Muench  (my  champion among American contem-
poraries in the field). The text is  easy  going,  often  almost
anecdotal,  and  yet  informative,  I  assume, even for the non-
specialist. This, then, is an example  of  the  classic  coffee-
table  book.  The  publisher's  blurb on the back cover calls it
"both a natural history and field guide"  and  admittedly,  most
coffee-table  books  are  of  a larger format and hardbound, but
then, this does not fit the pocket of my coat either.  So  where
does it fit in among the numerous books on botany or trees, both
popular  and  professional,  that  gush  forth in a never ending
torrent of print (and I am  old-fashioned  and  would  not  even
count most electronic disseminations among these)?

The  author is a retired forester who lectured and worked for 28
years at Utah State University.  Although  he  has  occasionally
written  on  taxonomy of pines (see his treatment of Pinus quad-
rifolia in SouthW. Naturalist 19: 75-95,  1974),  he  is  not  a
taxonomist.  It  is  a  good thing in the book that he indicates
where two recent major floristic publications, The Jepson manual
(1993) and Flora  of  North  America  (1993),  differ  from  the
taxonomy Lanner accepts in his book (and the floras often differ
from  each  other). However, although authoritative in their own
right, these are general  floras.  The  compilers  of  floristic
accounts of specific groups in them may have completed revision-
ary  work a priori, but in the cases here relevant they had not,
and certainly could not be expected to do so within the  context
of  their contributions. Their taxonomy is thus a "workable" one
based on some experience with the group and a consensus  derived
from  specialist  publications. There is, however, more special-
ized and recent taxonomic information which for  this  book  has
rarely been consulted, among which I must mention Farjon & B. T.
Styles's  treatment  of  Pinus in Flora neotropica 75 (1997; for
review see R. Schmid, Taxon 47: 544-546),  which  contains  nine
species of Mexican pines that also occur in Alta California, and
my  earlier book Pinaceae (Regnum Veg. 121, 1990; for review see
R. Schmid, Taxon 40: 359-360). In  two  boxed  sections,  Lanner
briefly  discusses  controversies  involving California's pinyon
pines and cypresses. In each  he  indicates  how  the  two  1993
floras  treat  taxa  accepted  by him (neither follow his inter-
pretation of Pinus quadrifolia, nor is this accepted by Farjon &
Styles).

One must observe that the descriptive text  given  under  "Iden-
tifying  [the  species  in question]" often hardly deserves that
qualification, which works fine for Sequoiadendron but does  not
help  with  identifying  some  of the rather dubious, and at any
rate very difficult, species of Cupressus. Sometimes the  infor-
mation  is  more confusing than illuminating: With the Mendocino
cypress (Cupressus pigmaea) on page  177  we  read  that  it  is
merely an edaphically determined dwarfed growth form; yet Lanner
seems  to  accept  it as a species despite this observation. The
same  is  true  of  the  dwarfed  form,  Pinus  contorta  subsp.
bolanderi,  that occurs on the leached sands of Mendocino. These
are ecotypes, not taxa. For the cypresses Lanner follows Griffin
& Critchfield (1972) (but this is not a taxonomic work),  noting
how  the  two  1993  floras  treat them (in one case both do not
accept a species) in order to "allow a diversity of views to  be
expressed without overtaxing the reader's patience" (p. 169).

This  book,  then, is a beautifully executed introduction to the
conifers of California and as such a well-presented  production.
I  was  probably  inspired to study conifers more than any other
group of plants when I first experienced the magnificence of the
Californian conifer forests on a visit in 1973, and due to  this
enthusiasm  I  have  been  back several times since. If Lanner's
book would stimulate the appreciation of these  wonderful  trees
and  forests,  as  I  am  sure it will, it is warmly recommended
despite some reservations I have voiced about its  taxonomy.  --
Aljos Farjon <a.farjon at lion.rbgkew.org.uk>, K


Zahler,  David  A.  &  Jensen,  Edward  C. 1999. Conifers of the
   Pacific Northwest. Forestry Media  Center,  248  Peavy  Hall,
   Oregon   State  University,  Corvallis,  OR  97331-5702,  USA
   (www.orst.edu/dept/fmc). CD-ROM, no ISBN, $95.00 ($20.00  for
   classes of ò5 - inquiries to Ed Jensen at ed.jensen at orst.edu)
   [Computer requirements: 4 86 or better PCs,  Windows 95 or up
   Macintosh; both 8 MB RAM.

Based on Jensen & C. R. Ross's Trees to know  in  Oregon,  [Rev.
ed.] (1994) and B. Littlefield & Jensen's [Conifer] Trees of the
Pacific Northwest at www.orst.edu/instruct/for241 (see Taxon 48:
202),  this  nicely  done, user friendly (but somewhat sluggish,
even on a Pentium II/350  with  64MB  RAM)  CD-ROM  has  mousing
options  for  terminology, picture keying an unknown, tree lists
(by common or  Latin  names),  and,  most  importantly,  species
information. The last has text and mostly very good color photos
for  bark,  twigs,  leaves,  cones  ("flowers  and fruit" in the
booklet!), range, uses, and species and genus  information.  The
CD-ROM  treats 4 families, 14 genera, and 31 native species (the
booklet states "13 genera" and "nearly 30 species"), including 8
of Pinus and 6 of Abies. The CD-ROM includes audio pronunciation
of the Latin and common names, plus tweeting birds on the  open-
ing  screen, but no spotted-owl hoot. I also miss a sound effect
for a crashing lumberjacked tree, which would be appropriate  as
most conifer taxa in the Pacific Northwest are economically very
important.
I enjoyed using the CD-ROM and, like the predecessor book, found
it  very  valuable  and  packed  with  all  sorts of interesting
forestry and  botanical  information.  Here  are  some  teething
problems  of  the  CD-ROM that might be resolvable in later ver-
sions: The introduction needs to define the geographic limits of
the Pacific Northwest. Betraying its origins,  the  CD-  ROM  is
still  somewhat  Oregon-centric;  hence see Pseudotsuga or Pinus
contorta, the latter "easy to identify  because  it's  the  only
two-needled  pine  native  to Oregon." The range maps are admit-
tedly rough (shading seems to have been  done  with  a  felt-tip
marker),  but  I  would  prefer not to have so many conifer taxa
supposedly growing in California's hot Central Valley.  And  the
last  I  heard, California had not yet drifted tectonically into
the Pacific Northwest. Thus inclusion of the Californian generic
endemic Sequoiadendron is nice but not quite appropriate, nor is
its map accurate, with the species shown in the  Central  Valley
and extending well into southern California. The mainly Califor-
nian  and  barely  Oregonian  Sequoia sempervirens and Cupressus
bakeri are also quasi-Pacific Northwest. Using  the  interactive
dichotomous  key  one  can  end  up  with three alien species of
Cedrus, which do not appear in the list of names. The  menu  for
species  features  could  add  a button for "ecology." Currently
this information  is  scattered--for  instance,  in  Pseudotsuga
menziesii  among  "bark" and "cones" versus the more logical and
informative "fire" paragraph in  the  book.  There  might  be  a
special  ecology  section  for "fire" and other features linking
the scattered information for the various  species,  or  even  a
text-search  option.  Annoyingly,  Esc  exits  the  program sans
warning, not just the current window. Incidentally, I  miss  the
book's  charming  and useful drawings/cartoons that stress diag-
nostic characters. These remarks  should  not  be  construed  as
overly negative, especially because any profits from this CD-ROM
are  plowed  back into other audio-visual projects. In sum, I am
sure this CD-ROM will be a hit with students, but  I  betray  my
age and biases by saying that I still find the book version much
more user friendly. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC

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