A Field Guide to the Flowers of the Alps (Pelagic Identification Guides)

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9781907807404: A Field Guide to the Flowers of the Alps (Pelagic Identification Guides)
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Explore the colourful world of alpine flowers. This practical book will help you make a quick, reliable identification of each plant, with concise descriptions and illustrations for individual plants to enable differentiation from similar species. Flowers can be identified quickly from colour and shape. The notable characters of each plant are clearly highlighted. Covering 500 species, each with colour photographs, this compact guide is designed for walkers and botanists. For each plant the common name, scientific name, flowering time, plant height, protected status, and distribution (habitat and altitude) are described.

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Europeans sure know how to produce pithy guidebooks thatare models of economic presentation. Hoppe s compact guidebookis a standout. It covers Europe s Alps, a1200-km arc straddling (from west to east) France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Slovenia, including Germanyto the north and Italy to the south...Hoppe is a valuable travel companion.--Rudolf Schmid "Taxon ""

The overall goal of this book, though, is to provide a comprehensive guide to the alpine flowers, in their diversity and beauty. In this, I think the authors have done quite well. The guide lists 500 species, and the content is easy to read and provides an efficient overview. With some practice and regular use, this book will be a nice field guide for first use and occasional reference and will stimulate the user to seek additional information from more comprehensive textbooks.--Peter Schroeder "Plant Science Bulletin "

The Alps are one of the most diverse natural landscapes in Europe. The mighty mountain chain rises from the Cote d'Azur of the Mediterranean, stretching from west to east and separating Europe into the cooler north and the sunny south along 1200 kilometers before it sinks back into the Pannonian Plain south of Vienna. Across this wide arc, a fascinating world of mountain peaks, wide valleys, and diverse landscapes stretches through seven countries. Because of their size and important geographic location, they are a unique mountain region with a fascinating biodiversity. Today, the Alps are among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and the names of the amazing rock formations of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Grossglockner, or Zugspitze are known to everyone.

Less known are the beautiful landscapes and ecosystems of the mid-altitudes, between 700 and 1800 m, with their long history as agricultural and rural management areas. The Alps have been populated for more than 6000 years, beginning with a Neolithic nomadic way of life that slowly transitioned to farming and livestock raising in village communities. Since the early Middle Ages, the sustainable use of nature as a protection against natural hazards shaped the landscape, especially in the northern alpine region. The plants and animals we find today in the Alps are a mix of species that immigrated in the course of agricultural and pasture development, glacial relicts, and native endemic species.

In Europe, there is already a plethora of field guides available for the alpine region. Why then another book on alpine flowers? A Field Guide to the Flowers of the Alps is a translation of a well-known field guide available in German. On the one hand, its translation into English will provide some assistance to the botanist, student, or biology teacher from abroad, and on the other hand it presents sufficiently detailed facts on alpine flowers for tourists who might otherwise overlook the beauties around their feet. Therefore, it is well suited for the excursion backpack, the small pocket, or for the 21st-century traveler with limited time but with an interest in the environment and the beauty of plants.

The author, Ansgar Hoppe, is a botanist and research associate at the University of Hannover, Germany. He has published corresponding field guides in German, and is interested in geobotany and plant ecology. Many of the photographs in the book are by Michael Hassler, who is a well-known plant photographer and botanist. Several other botanists contributed pictures to the book.

On the first few pages, the book briefly explains the formation of the Alps, their structure and ecology. Two pages illustrate how to use the book and how to locate plant species of interest. Some short botanical basics are provided at the end of the volume, together with a map of the alpine zonation and main geologies. As plants usually appeal by their flowers, the book is classified and sections are color coded according to flower colors (red, white, blue, yellow, and greenish). An icon provides additional segregation according to flower type and symmetry. Each page lists three plant species, and plant descriptions consist of a typical photograph depicting the flowering species in its natural environment, along with the common English and scientific names. The corresponding text box contains a very (!) short description of flowering time, distribution, and a few important details. Only features that can be recognized without a magnifying lens are used for description. A few symbols indicate the protection status and the toxicity (very toxic and mildly toxic) of a given species.

Some of the photos included are of good quality and express the beauty of the flowers. Others are of intermediate to lower quality, and a few fail to clearly identify a species, due to the complexity of the plant shape or its size, as might be the case for the umbelliferous plants, Apiaceae (habit and leaf form would be essential here).

The overall goal of this book, though, is to provide a comprehensive guide to the alpine flowers, in their diversity and beauty. In this, I think the authors have done quite well. The guide lists 500 species, and the content is easy to read and provides an efficient overview. With some practice and regular use, this book will be a nice field guide for first use and occasional reference and will stimulate the user to seek additional information from more comprehensive textbooks.

It is also a book that awakens curiosity and the anticipation of an excursion into the mountains. For example, have you ever met the "King of the Alps" (Eritrichium nanum)? From my ofice window here in Munich, I can see the Alps in the distance on a clear day like today. I think I will pack the field guide into my backpack when I go out for my next excursion.--Peter Schroeder "Plant Science Bulletin "

Europeans sure know how to produce pithy guidebooks that are models of economic presentation. Hoppe's compact guidebook is a standout. It covers Europe's Alps, a 1200-km arc straddling (from west to east) France, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Slovenia, including Germany to the north and Italy to the south... Hoppe is a valuable travel companion.

--Rudolf Schmid "Taxon "

The overall goal of this book, though, is to provide a comprehensive guide to the alpine flowers, in their diversity and beauty. In this, I think the authors have done quite well. The guide lists 500 species, and the content is easy to read and provides an efficient overview. With some practice and regular use, this book will be a nice field guide for first use and occasional reference and will stimulate the user to seek additional information from more comprehensive textbooks.

--Peter Schroeder "Plant Science Bulletin "

About the Author:

Plants have always been important to Ansgar Hoppe. After working in forestry, he studied biology at the University of Osnabrück and gained his PhD in botany and vegetation science at the Institute of Geobotany at the University of Hanover. He learned about the plants of the Alps and other European mountains through numerous excursions. Since then he has been scientific associate at the University and the Niedersächsischer Heimatbund (NHB) [Heritage Association of Lower Saxony] in Hanover. He is involved with many projects researching conservation of the cultural landscape, as well as working freelance as a botanical expert and author.

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