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The Olympic Rain Forest: An Ecological Web.

The theme of this short and beautifully photographed book on the Olympic Peninsula's rainforests is Aldo Leopold's warning that the first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. The meat is a well-informed story of how the peninsula's parts came into being and what they are, from powerful rivers to microscopic fungi and animals that may be the least obvious, but most important, parts of the forest.

Unlike many writers bent on saving the last old-growth forests, Jerry Franklin, an ecologist, and writer Ruth Kirk rely more on science than polemic to argue that these forests are unique systems. For them, science's method of examining an entire landscape in minute parts reinforces the spiritual with specific and firm knowledge.

The authors occasionally contradict themselves; they claim that Native Americans were both not motivated by economics and were careful catalogers of resources and guardians of their family properties. Their brief references to the northern spotted owl only hint at the complexity of that controversy. Their biases toward preservation are clear, despite their aim "to present the forest not as an issue but as a remarkable whole." Nevertheless, the generally fine text is political only occasionally and then mildly. The book itself survives as a remarkable whole.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Forests
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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