By Kelby Ouchley
Louisiana's bayous and their watersheds teem with cypress timber, alligators, crawfish, and plenty of different existence varieties. From Bayou Tigre to part Moon Bayou, those slow streams meander via lowlands, marshes, or even uplands to dominate the state's panorama. In Bayou-Diversity, conservationist Kelby Ouchley finds the bayou's difficult net of vegetation and fauna.Through a suite of essays approximately Louisiana's typical heritage, Ouchley information an awesome array of vegetation and animals present in the Bayou nation. Baldcypress, orchids, feral hogs, eels, black bears, bald eagles, and cottonmouth snakes reside within the good over four hundred bayous of the sector. jointly, Ouchley's vignettes painting bright and complicated habitats. yet human interplay with the bayou and our function in its survival, Ouchley argues, will be sure the way forward for those tricky ecosystems. Bayou-Diversity narrates the tale of the bayou one wildflower, one creature at a time, in flip illustrating the larger photo of this precious and stricken Louisiana panorama.
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Extra info for Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country
The old trees in my yard produce deep shade, and oak seedlings are shade intolerant. This means that unless I cut down enough trees to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor, the seedlings will never grow taller than a few inches. In natural conditions that rarely exist today, oak forests reproduced sporadically in tree-fall gaps. When an old, large tree fell, its offspring grew up in the sunlit gap. The aesthetics of a giant fallen tree in the front yard is of less mind to Mother Nature than to me.
In fact, this species does the salmon act backward. I am referring to the American eel. Eels are widespread in North America and common in the rivers and larger bayous of LouiÂ�siÂ�ana. Although their bodies are elongated and snake-like, they are actually scaleless fish with fins and gills. They should not be confused with what many people call “lamper eels,” which are not eels at all but rather a species of harmless salamander that frequents swampy areas and ditches. True eels are sometimes called “fish eels” in this region.
We usually think of martins as spring birds and eagerly look forward to the arrival of the first “scouts” in early February. They readily accept artificial nest boxes and seem to thrive in the close company of humans. Native Americans were fond of martins and erected gourds as nest boxes long before Europeans arrived. Purple martins originally nested in tree cavities that were abundant before modern short-rotation, industrial forest management. Competition from introduced house sparrows and starlings further reduced their natural habitat.
Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country by Kelby Ouchley