geoecological research in the rocky mountains

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  • BOREAS BOOK REVIEWS 4 Boreas, Vol. 10, p. 218. Oslo 1981 0601 Geoecological research in the Rocky Mountains OLAVI HEIKKINEN

    Jack D. Ives (ed.): Geoecology of the Colorado Front Range: A Study of Alpine and Subalpine Environments, Westview Press/Boulder, Colorado 1980. xxvii + 484 pp. The Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is one of the most comprehensively studied mountain areas in the United States and throughout the world, thanks to the activity of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (University of Colorado). Professor Jack D. Ives, who edited this volume, served twelve years as the director of the institute.

    The book includes six parts in all, representing different disciplines in the following order: glacial geology, geomorphol- ogy, glaciology and hydrology, climatology, plant ecology, and animal ecology. Each part begins with an overview of 3-15 pages, in which the general development of each discipline is discussed. The book consists of 44 separate articles selected from over 300 available studies. All articles have been re- printed from works published earlier in different scientific journals, mainly in the time between 1965 and 1978. The majority of contributions concern the Front Range, although a few studies cover other mountain areas in the United States. Some research has evolved in connection with university theses and constitutes only abstracts or summaries.

    The concept geoecology means something like the biolo- gists ecology but emphasizes geological or geoscientific

    aspects. So it is natural that depiction and development of geoecological systems begins with Quaternary glaciers and preconditions created by them and ends with biogeographical aspects.

    In his preface and introduction, Professor Ives describes the main natural features of the Front Range and defines the purposes of the book. One purpose of the volume was to assemble research publications that stressed alpine and sub- alpine ecosystems together. The articles present wide views of the transition zone between timberline and treeline (subalpine belt or forest-tundra ecotone). Periglacial processes and the influence of abiotic factors on alpine vegetation are also strongly represented.

    The format of the volume is not homogeneous because the typography of the reprinted articles differs one from the other. Neither are the contents strictly coordinated, as the book comprises a collection of articles written at different times and for different purposes. However, the subject and its diverse contributions are interesting and stimulating. The methodolo- gies used present new evidence and much of the research described here can be applied to other mountain areas.

    Olavi Heikkinen. Department of Geography, University of Helsinki, ffallituskatu 11-13, SF-OIOO Helsinki 10, Finland: 6th February, 1981.


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