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A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

Steven L. Stephenson
March 2013
Flexibind 978-1-933202-68-6
 ePub 978-1-935978-72-5
PDF 978-1-935978-71-8

Central Appalachian
Natural History


Central Appalachia is the system of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain found in western and southwestern Virginia, eastern and central West Virginia, western Maryland, and a portion of south central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Through its concise and accessible approach, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the plants, animals, and other organisms of this region of eastern North America.

With over 120 images, this text provides an overview of the landscape of this region, including the major changes that have taken place over the past 300 million years; describes the different types of forests and other plant communities currently present in Central Appalachia; and examines living systems ranging from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. Through a consideration of the history of humans in the region, beginning with the arrival of the first Native Americans, A Natural History of the Central Appalachians also discusses the past, present, and future influences of human activity upon this geographic area.



Chapter 1 Introduction to the Central Appalachians

Chapter 2 History of the Flora and Fauna

Chapter 3 Plant Life of Central Appalachia

Chapter 4 Forests of Central Appalachia

Chapter 5 Non-Forested Areas of Central Appalachia

Chapter 6 Plants of Special Interest

Chapter 7 Lower Plants

Chapter 8 Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Chapter 9 Non-Insect Arthropods and Other Invertebrates

Chapter 10 Insects of the Central Appalachians

Chapter 11 Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fishes

Chapter 12 Birds and Mammals

Chapter 13 Humans in the Central Appalachians

Chapter 14 Past, Present, and Future

Index of Common and Scientific Names


Figure Credits



Steve Stephenson has lived, worked, and carried out research throughout the Central Appalachian region for much of his career. He is a Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas and the author of Myxomycetes: A Handbook of Slime Molds and The Kingdom Fungi: The Biology of Mushrooms, Molds, and Lichens and a coauthor of Macrofungi Associated with Oaks of Eastern North America.


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