The Atchafalaya River Basin
History and Ecology of an American Wetland
Natural History
8.5 x 11, 320 pp.
132 color, 4 b&w illus. 25 maps. 12 tables. 4 appendixes. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 02/25/2014
  hardcover
Price:        $35.00

978-1-62349-039-3
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The Atchafalaya River Basin

History and Ecology of an American Wetland

Bryan P. Piazza

In this comprehensive, one-volume reference, Nature Conservancy scientist Bryan P. Piazza poses five key questions:
—What is the Atchafalaya River Basin?
—Why is it important?
—How have its hydrology and natural habitats been managed?
—What is its current state?
—How do we ensure its survival?

For more than five centuries, the Atchafalaya River Basin has captured the flow of the Mississippi River, becoming its main distributary as it reaches the Gulf of Mexico in south Louisiana. This dynamic environment, comprising almost a million acres of the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley and Mississippi River Deltaic Plain, is perhaps best known for its expansive swamp environments dominated by baldcypress, water tupelo, and alligators. But the Atchafalaya River Basin contains a wide range of habitats and one of the highest levels of biodiversity on the North American continent.    

Piazza has compiled and synthesized the body of scientific knowledge for the Atchafalaya River Basin, documenting the ecological state of the basin and providing a baseline of understanding. His research provides a crucial resource for future planning. He evaluates some common themes that have emerged from the research and identifies important scientific questions that remain unexplored.

BRYAN P. PIAZZA is director of freshwater and marine science at The Nature Conservancy, Louisiana, based in Baton Rouge, where he leads the applied science program in support of conservation projects across the Gulf states. He also serves as a consultant, providing technical and scientific advice on a range of environmental damage, restoration, and compliance issues.

What Readers Are Saying:

"A thorough and thought-provoking compilation of facts on American's most important river basin swamp. The book is a handy reference for the scientist and nature enthusiast alike. The tables and graphs make it easy reading and user friendly."--C. C. Lockwood

“This intricate work penetrates every backwater, stillwater, and channel of the Atchafalaya Basin, so massaged by the hand of man and the endurance of nature. Piazza manages to dissect with a deft hand that will leave you aghast at his knowledge of the region’s biology, geology, history, and magic –as well as to warn of its fragility.” – Christopher Hallowell

"The Atchafalaya River Basin contains many interesting and excellent color photographs, maps, graphs and tables. Although it is hardly "light reading"  indiviuals with a deep interest in the multiple values and uses of wetlands and waterways will find the book very educational and interesting." — Wildlife Activist

“A Beautifully constructed, highly informative, richly illustrated book about the Atchafalaya River Basin in Louisiana. The abundantly referenced text in engagingly written for a general or professional audience, and the scientific literature cited is comprehensive. Many fine photos, historical and current maps, remote sensing images, and clear figures make this book enjoyable to read or even just peruse. The book clearly conveys the author’s great understanding and deep affection for the subject. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in this magnificent southern American wetland.” — Choice

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