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Summer Beam Books

Not Just Trees: The Legacy of a Douglas-fir Forest

Not Just Trees: The Legacy of a Douglas-fir Forest

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Author: Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds; foreword by Robert Michael Pyle

Publisher: WSU Press, 1999

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. Dr. Dirks-Edmunds' dedication to that forest has now culminated in Not Just Trees, a very personal account of the life of one forest, observed for six decades by one woman.

ISBN: 9780874221701

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