Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Book Review: Wetlands of Ireland: distribution, ecology, uses and economic value

Book Review: Wetlands of Ireland: distribution, ecology, uses and economic value BOOK REVIEW Wetlands of Ireland: distribution, ecology, uses and economic value Edited by Marinus L. Otte (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003 x/256pp; t60.00 hardback; t30.00 paperback) ISBN (hardback) 1-900621-894-4; ISBN (paperback) 1-900621-88-6 A country that has a vernacular vocabulary with at least twenty different words for wetlands deserves a book that explores the reasons for such biological riches. Wetlands of Ireland is a simple and evocative title to describe a subject full of endless opportunities for exploration at every level of intellectual enquiry. Finding a unifying concept for a multi-authored work is no minor matter. Happily, this present work has solved this problem very successfully both in terms of location and theme and in terms of readability. With the strong possibility that our western oceanic climate is becoming noticeably wetter, the decision to bring out a book on the wetlands of Ireland is to be welcomed. It is not many years since this the Press of University College Dublin brought out the encyclopaedic volume by Feehan and O’Donovan */The Bogs of Ireland */devoted entirely to the topic of peatlands. Famous as Ireland is for its outstanding bogs it is very appropriate to have another work from this same press that looks at wetlands in a more general sense. Ireland is renowned for its peatlands, but it is also remarkable in both the diversity and extent of its other wetlands, from salt marshes, coastal lagoons, fens, callows and floodplains to bog and swamp woodlands. A number of these wetland habitats are, as the book claims, uniquely Irish. The Shannon Callows with their winter-flooded meadows, corncrakes and forested alluvial plains have evolved over thousands of years in response to long-term human settlement and adaptation to a hyper-oceanic environment that is not found elsewhere. The turloughs of the Burren, where the vegetation has to withstand both flooding and drought, and the wooded wetlands of the Shannon, where trees survive flooding every winter, are also remarkable ecological phenomena that are unique to Ireland. It is always a question of judgement as to whether a multi-authored book provides a better insight into a subject than a monograph. Too often the specialised contributions of individual authors working together on one book do not provide an intellectually satisfying work, and seldom offer a good read. However, the individual authors of this book, writing about the wetlands habitats where they have lived and worked for so many years, have contributed a depth of understanding that no single author could have achieved, given the great diversity of Ireland’s wetland sites. The tendency of writers in multi-authored works to write for themselves rather than consider the book as a whole is not manifested in this particular work, which has ensured that the Wetlands of Ireland theme is adhered to in each and every one of the contributions to the book. In the 256 pages and 15 chapters of this book, the 24 authors address general wetland topics relevant to Ireland and more specialised subjects that are uniquely Irish. The general topics include life in wetland environments, salt marshes, coastal lagoons, birds, archaeology and conservation. The uniquely Irish chapters deal with topics such as the invasion of estuaries by cord grass (Spartina anglica ), corncrakes on the Shannon Callows, turloughs, and the use of wetlands for wastewater treatment. The book also includes a useful appendix giving other books relevant to wetlands together with Irish and international internet addresses where more information can be obtained about wetlands. For those seeking precise information there are, as well as the usual references section, three sets of helpful indices presenting keywords, geographic and taxonomic information that add greatly to the usefulness of this work as an information source. The text is well-illustrated with numerous maps and colour photographs. It is neither a coffee-table book nor an encyclopaedia, but a well-constructed work containing a mine of information that can be read with pleasure and profit by anyone with an enquiring interest in the world about us, whatever their previous natural history experience. REFERENCE Feehan, J. and O’Donovan, G. 1996 The bogs of Ireland. Dublin. University College Dublin. Prof. R.M.M. Crawford, Plant Sciences Laboratory, The University of St Andrews, Scotland, KY16 9AJ . BIOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY, VOL. 104B, NO. 2, 131 (2004). ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Royal Irish Academy

Book Review: Wetlands of Ireland: distribution, ecology, uses and economic value

Loading next page...
 
/lp/royal-irish-academy/book-review-wetlands-of-ireland-distribution-ecology-uses-and-economic-az6tESgzzK
Publisher
Royal Irish Academy
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 RIA
ISSN
0791-7945
eISSN
2009-003X
DOI
10.3318/BIOE.2004.104.2.131
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

BOOK REVIEW Wetlands of Ireland: distribution, ecology, uses and economic value Edited by Marinus L. Otte (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2003 x/256pp; t60.00 hardback; t30.00 paperback) ISBN (hardback) 1-900621-894-4; ISBN (paperback) 1-900621-88-6 A country that has a vernacular vocabulary with at least twenty different words for wetlands deserves a book that explores the reasons for such biological riches. Wetlands of Ireland is a simple and evocative title to describe a subject full of endless opportunities for exploration at every level of intellectual enquiry. Finding a unifying concept for a multi-authored work is no minor matter. Happily, this present work has solved this problem very successfully both in terms of location and theme and in terms of readability. With the strong possibility that our western oceanic climate is becoming noticeably wetter, the decision to bring out a book on the wetlands of Ireland is to be welcomed. It is not many years since this the Press of University College Dublin brought out the encyclopaedic volume by Feehan and O’Donovan */The Bogs of Ireland */devoted entirely to the topic of peatlands. Famous as Ireland is for its outstanding bogs it is very appropriate to have another work from this same press that looks at wetlands in a more general sense. Ireland is renowned for its peatlands, but it is also remarkable in both the diversity and extent of its other wetlands, from salt marshes, coastal lagoons, fens, callows and floodplains to bog and swamp woodlands. A number of these wetland habitats are, as the book claims, uniquely Irish. The Shannon Callows with their winter-flooded meadows, corncrakes and forested alluvial plains have evolved over thousands of years in response to long-term human settlement and adaptation to a hyper-oceanic environment that is not found elsewhere. The turloughs of the Burren, where the vegetation has to withstand both flooding and drought, and the wooded wetlands of the Shannon, where trees survive flooding every winter, are also remarkable ecological phenomena that are unique to Ireland. It is always a question of judgement as to whether a multi-authored book provides a better insight into a subject than a monograph. Too often the specialised contributions of individual authors working together on one book do not provide an intellectually satisfying work, and seldom offer a good read. However, the individual authors of this book, writing about the wetlands habitats where they have lived and worked for so many years, have contributed a depth of understanding that no single author could have achieved, given the great diversity of Ireland’s wetland sites. The tendency of writers in multi-authored works to write for themselves rather than consider the book as a whole is not manifested in this particular work, which has ensured that the Wetlands of Ireland theme is adhered to in each and every one of the contributions to the book. In the 256 pages and 15 chapters of this book, the 24 authors address general wetland topics relevant to Ireland and more specialised subjects that are uniquely Irish. The general topics include life in wetland environments, salt marshes, coastal lagoons, birds, archaeology and conservation. The uniquely Irish chapters deal with topics such as the invasion of estuaries by cord grass (Spartina anglica ), corncrakes on the Shannon Callows, turloughs, and the use of wetlands for wastewater treatment. The book also includes a useful appendix giving other books relevant to wetlands together with Irish and international internet addresses where more information can be obtained about wetlands. For those seeking precise information there are, as well as the usual references section, three sets of helpful indices presenting keywords, geographic and taxonomic information that add greatly to the usefulness of this work as an information source. The text is well-illustrated with numerous maps and colour photographs. It is neither a coffee-table book nor an encyclopaedia, but a well-constructed work containing a mine of information that can be read with pleasure and profit by anyone with an enquiring interest in the world about us, whatever their previous natural history experience. REFERENCE Feehan, J. and O’Donovan, G. 1996 The bogs of Ireland. Dublin. University College Dublin. Prof. R.M.M. Crawford, Plant Sciences Laboratory, The University of St Andrews, Scotland, KY16 9AJ . BIOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY, VOL. 104B, NO. 2, 131 (2004). ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY

Journal

Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish AcademyRoyal Irish Academy

Published: May 1, 2004

There are no references for this article.