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Marsh Meadow Mountain

Marsh Meadow Mountain

Edited by John J. Harding
illustrations by Carol Decker
Copyright Date: 1986
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Marsh Meadow Mountain
    Book Description:

    Stretching from the craggy reaches of the Pocono Mountains to the rolling farmlands of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, sprawling east across the Delaware River basin and New Jersey's coastal plain Atlantic beaches-here is a land of rich historical, cultural, and environmental diversity. Few other locales in the United States have as many varied habitats, each with its own distinctive vegetation and wildlife. The nature lover in the Delaware Valley can travel from ocean, across barrier-beaches, salt-water and fresh-water marshes, pine barrens, deciduous woodlands and fields, to mountains, all in a few hours.

    Marsh, Meadow, Mountain, a combination tour guide and ecological primer, is written for the thousands of people in the area with an interest in natural history or for those seeking alternative recreational activities. Each chapter, written by an experienced naturalist intimately familiar with one of the seven major ecosystems, introduces the reader to the dynamic interrelationships in nature, the interactions between a particular habitat and its inhabitants, and its plants and wildlife. Over 135 locations are described including the Pocono Mountains, the Pine Barrens, Stone Harbor, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Ridley Creek State Park, Tyler Arboretum, and Tinicum National Environmental Center, which in any season can provide fascinating viewing opportunities depending upon your interests. Each site also includes addresses, directions, trail maps, artistic drawings, and a suggested reading list.

    Marsh, Meadow, Mountainconveys both a sense of fun and learning and, ultimately, will instill in the reader a special intimacy with the Delaware Valley's precious wild places.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0168-7
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. xi-1)
  5. The Eastern Deciduous Forest
    (pp. 3-47)

    A collage of assorted broad-leaved hardwood trees with their accompanying vegetation and wildlife once dominated much of the eastern United States. They formed vast tracts of “deciduous” woodlands, that is, forests of trees that shed their leaves each year after the growing season. Hardly any virgin woodlands remain in our area; most of the deciduous trees we see today are second-, third-, or even fourth-generation descendants.

    Since colonial times trees have been razed for lumber and the creation of agricultural lands, or ravaged by fires and disease. The American Chestnut, for example, was “king” of the eastern deciduous forest until...

  6. The Fresh-Water Marsh
    (pp. 49-81)

    The term “fresh-water marsh” refers to any community of plants and animals that live in an area containing wet soils and lacking trees. From a geological perspective, all marshes are young and rapidly changing landforms, an intermediate step in the successional process that transforms open water into dry, forested land. Because marshes form a buffer or transitional zone between open water and dry land, they vary greatly in size, from narrow strips and pockets measured in square yards to large expanses measured in hundreds of acres.

    Probably the least known type of marsh is found in freshwater tidal areas. Seemingly...

  7. The Mountains
    (pp. 83-123)

    The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area a 72,000-acre national park encompassing a 35-mile stretch of the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To the west in Pennsylvania, the river is bordered by the easternmost edge of the great Appalachian Plateau, so heavily dissected by stream erosion and glaciation that it has lost the character of a plateau and appears now as the mountains and ridges known as the Poconos. To the east in New Jersey, the river is bordered by the Kittatinny Ridge, the most outstanding in a series of parallel ridges running northeast to southwest that make...

  8. The Pine Barrens
    (pp. 125-155)

    The Pine Barrens is an area of approximately 2,000 square miles lying in the outer Atlantic Coastal Plain of southern New Jersey. It is the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi, a fact that surprises even many New Jersey residents. Once extensively logged and mined for bog iron, it was largely bypassed and forgotten during the industrialization of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    The Pine Barrens are aptly named, for they are indeed barren when compared with the profusion of plant and animal life found in the rolling deciduous forests to the west and north. But a number...

  9. The Salt-Water Marsh
    (pp. 157-191)

    The salt marshes that lie along the Delaware Bay and behind the barrier islands of southern New Jersey’s Atlantic Coast are a vast habitat of 245,000 acres. Easily identified by their uninterrupted vista of waving grasses, the marshes are often overlooked and unvisited even when easily accessible.

    The marshes have been disdained as swampy havens for biting insects and unfit places for humans since colonial times. This reputation is unfortunate. The marshes as well as other shallow-water estuarine habitats—mud flats, tidal creeks, sounds, inlets, and bays—are not only rich in food resources but one of our most productive...

  10. The Barrier Beach and Island
    (pp. 193-219)

    The eastern shoeeline of the United States from Long Island to Georgia is edged by a string of sandy islands no more than a few miles wide (if that) and ranging in length from 5 to 25 miles. They are known as barrier islands because they form a soft, mobile buffer between the open ocean and the true mainland.

    Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is such a barrier island: it is 50 miles long, narrow except at Buxton, and relatively unspoiled. Atlantic City sits on a barrier island, but it is so urbanized that it is hard to think of it...

  11. The Atlantic Ocean
    (pp. 221-242)

    It’s,eight o’clock night and the boatMiss Barnegat Lightlies at her berth. She awaits the arrival of some eighty birders who intend to take her apptoximately 100 miles off the coast of New Jersey in search of seabirds and other marine life. People begin to straggle aboard, staking out their sleeping spots. Some will stay in the spacious cabin-lounge, but if the weather appears favorable, many will roll out their pads and sleeping bags on the upper deck. Although it’s the end of May, the temperatures in the North Atlantic can be quite cool, making the open deck a...

  12. INDEX
    (pp. 243-269)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 270-270)