The Rocky Mountain West is largely arid and steep, with ecological
scars from past human use visible for hundreds of years. Just how
damaging were the past 150 years of activity? How do current rates
of disturbance compare with past mining, grazing, and water
diversion activities? In the face of constant change, what
constitutes a "natural" ecosystem? And can ahigh quality of life be
achieved for both human and natural communities inthis region?
Rocky Mountain Futures presents a comprehensive and wide-ranging
examination of the ecological consequences of past, current, and
future human activities in the Rocky Mountain region of the United
States and Canada. The book brings together 32 leading ecologists,
geographers, and other scientists and researchers to present an
objective assessment of thecumulative effects of human activity on
the region's ecological health andto consider changes wrought by
past human use. This combined view of past and present reveals
where Rocky Mountain ecosystems are heading, and the authors
project what the future holds based upon current economic and
social trends and the patterns that emerge from them. The book:
examines the biogeographic and paleoenvironmental setting and,
historical climate that have shaped Rocky Mountain ecosystems,
traces the direct human influences on landscapes and ecosystems
over the past 150 years, explores the cumulative effects of past,
present, and projected future human activities on tundra, subalpine
and montane forests, valleys, grasslands, and waters, offers case
studies that illustrate specific examples of human fluence and
current eff orts to restore the environment
Case studies focus on northern New Mexico; Summit County,
Colorado; Flathead Valley, Montana; and Alberta, Canada. Among the
contributors are Craig D. Allen, N. Thompson Hobbs, Linda L. Joyce,
Robert E. Keane, David Schindler, Timothy R. Seastedt, David
Theobald, Diana Tomback, William Travis, Cathy Whitlock, and Jack
The United Nations has proclaimed 2002 as the International
Year of Mountains to increase international awareness of the global
importance of mountain ecosystems. The case-based multidisciplinary
approach of this book constitutes an important new model for
understanding the implicationsof land-use practices and economic
activity on mountains, and will serve avital role in improving
decisionmaking both in the Rocky Mountains and in other parts of
the world that face similar challenges.
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