By Allan A. Schoenherr
During this entire and abundantly illustrated e-book, Allan Schoenherr describes a country with a better variety of landforms, a greater diversity of habitats, and extra different types of crops and animals than any region of similar measurement in all of North the USA. A common background of California will familiarize the reader with the weather, rocks, soil, crops and animals in every one unique quarter of the country.
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Additional resources for A Natural History of California (California Natural History Guides)
Probably the most variable factor in ecosystems is water. Its cycle is similar to that of carbon: It is a requirement for photosynthesis and a waste product of cellular respiration. The nonbiological part of the cycle consists of evaporation from the surface of the earth to form water vapor in the air. When the air is chilled, water condenses and falls as precipitation. Once on the land, it percolates into the ground to form aquifers or groundwater; that which does not percolate into the ground becomes the runoff that forms rivers.
When rabbits become too common, they eat crops. Coyotes thus serve as a natural control mechanism. A similar controversy rages over protection of the Mountain Lion (Felis concolor). Wildlife managers have discovered that the genetic diversity of individual species is also important because of its role in the protection and management of endangered species. Even if a species returns from the brink of extinction, the new population may be fostered by too few parents, and therefore all its members would be very much alike.
Through much effort, the farmer maintains a single-species system (monoculture), eliminating weeds (competitors) and animals (pests) and applying nitrogen-rich fertilizers. In natural systems, animals (including insects) are part of the cycle because they are able to convert amino acids to glucose and use them as a source of energy. To make this conversion, animals remove the amino part from the amino acid. This is the part of the molecule that contains the nitrogen. Animals then excrete the nitrogen as some form of waste.
A Natural History of California (California Natural History Guides) by Allan A. Schoenherr