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Not Just Trees
The Legacy of a Douglas-fir Forest
Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds
Foreword by Robert Michael Pyle

The word "unique" is overused.  But in the case of Not Just Trees, that description is accurate.

Not Just Trees is the gracefully written story of life in an ancient Oregon Coast Range forest.  Covering a span of more than sixty years, it is the tale of the mighty Douglas-firs and cedars and hemlocks that once grew there.  But an ancient forest is more than just trees, and this book is also about the lives of great and small creatures and plants, of slugs and worms, spiders and bugs, butterflies and birds, lichens and mosses.

Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds began studying a small parcel of ancient forest in western Oregon while an undergraduate student at Linfield College.  After receiving her doctorate she returned to Linfield to teach biology for more than thirty years and again study her beloved forest on Saddleback Mountain, recording its life through logging in the 1940s and clearcutting in the 1980s.  This type of in-depth study, over so many years, has never been undertaken on a single western forest before, nor is it likely to ever be repeated.

Not Just Trees tells about the amazing variety of life in the forest.  It is also the story of a tenacious woman, an ecologist who studied Oregon flora and fauna before there were guidebooks, at a time when precious few even knew what the word "ecology" meant.

Halfway through her sophomore year during her days as a Linfield student, Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds visited the ecological research site of her mentor, Professor James A. Macnab.  From that day, the forest on Saddleback Mountain was never far from her mind or heart.

"A place such as Saddleback was indeed much more than trees.  With its accreted knowledge, it should have become a national monument, a Biosphere Reserve, a cherished baseline for every other Coast Range forest that used to be.  That it did not work out that way is a tragedy.  How lucky we are that its loving scribe has told us in elegant, enjoyable, compelling, and ultimately heartbreaking terms, just what was vouchsafed to her by these lost woods."
—Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen and Where Bigfoot Walks

"Not Just Trees will please anyone who cares about forests, wildlife, and the intricate workings of ecosystems; it will inspire those concerned about women's struggles for equality; it will engage anyone in the history of science in the twentieth century; and it will inform those interested in the Northwest and the unique flora, fauna, and microbiota of its forests."
—Anne H. Ehrlich, author of The Population Explosion and Extinction

"In Not Just Trees, Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds bravely tells a painful story. Between 1933, when she was a sophomore at Linfield College, and 1995, when she visited the site for the last time, Dirks-Edmunds participated in a series of studies of a remnant Douglas fir forest in the Coast Ranges of western Oregon. In this charming, thoughtful, and informative book, she accounts for the emotional and intellectual appeal of old-growth forests across her lifetime. This memoir is a fine account of the joys of doing biological fieldwork and a fascinating primer on the complex ecology of undisturbed forests, a subject pioneered, in part, by her mentor, James A. Macnab. After the Saddleback Mountain research area was logged in 1940, Dirks-Edmunds and others studied forest recovery, recording and admiring the regenerative powers of nature—powers irrevocably undermined by clear-cutting in the 1980s and 1990s."
Audubon Magazine

 


Not Just Trees

Photographs, maps, glossary, bibliography, index

6" x 9"
360 pages (1999)


Hardbound
ISBN 978-0-87422-169-5
$35 $28

Paperback
ISBN 978-0-87422-170-1
$22.95 $16.95

(Available in Canada through UBC Press)

 
                         
                         
                         
 
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