Swamp Song:
A Natural History of Florida's Swamps

Ron Larson


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"An excellent natural history. . . . Expresses Larson's obvious enthusiasm for swamps and will instill the same feeling in readers."--Susan W. Vince, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida

"An excellent description of the beauty and complexity of Florida's swamplands. . . . Thoroughly details what the different kinds of swamps are, how they were formed, the flora and fauna found in them, some of the best sites for viewing this habitat, and the overall importance of these areas to man and nature."--William Conner, Baruch Forest Science Institute, Georgetown, South Carolina


Swamp Song is the story of a biologist's romance with the environment. In this abundantly illustrated book, naturalist and photographer Ron Larson offers to everyone interested in nature--from bird watchers and canoeists to botanists and policy makers--an introduction to Florida's forested wetlands.
Florida has more swamps and marshes than any other state except Alaska. One-third of it is covered with cypress domes, wet prairies, mangrove swamps, sawgrass glades, pitcher plant savannahs, and other wetlands. Swamps in Florida are the last refuge of panthers, wood storks, black bears, and many rare plants such as the ghost orchid and hand fern.
This intimate account of Florida's biological richness bridges the gap between technical and popular discussions of how swamps originated; how water, fire, and nutrients affect wetlands; the types and distribution of swamps; the impact of exotic species; and how human activities affect swamps. It introduces the flora of swamps, from slime molds to tupelo trees, and examines the animals that live there, from apple snails to bobcats. In addition, it tells how to explore and photograph the swamps and offers maps that show how to find them.
Larson's message is that swamps are a vital part of Florida's landscape that deserve protection and appreciation. In personal narrative and 79 illustrations, he presents the swamp as a natural world of remarkable biotic diversity and he invites readers to understand why he finds it distinctive, enticing, and unforgettably beautiful.

Ron Larson, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Jackson, Mississippi, lived in Florida for more than five years while researching this book. He is the author of more than 40 scientific papers as well as popular articles about marine life and natural history. His photographs have appeared in many books and magazines, including National Geographic. He has participated in scientific expeditions to the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Neotropics.

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"This delightful, beautifully illustrated book with its detailed descriptions of swamps, and the flora and fauna that inhabit them, offers something for everyone, from bird watchers and botanists, to canoeists, activists, and hopefully, policymakers."
--Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Swamp Song introduces readers to the natural beauty of Florida's swamps. Larson vividly describes the history, nature, and lives of these swamps, and his expereinces in exploring them......With 47 photos and maps and 32 color plates, he presents readers with the wild, lively nature of Florida swamps. A very educational book, especially for the lay public."--Choice
--Choice

"This is a detailed and smoothly readable book with photos and some especially nice drawings."
--St. Petersburg Times

"Larson takes the complex, often overwhelming history and nature of Florida's swamps and uses his own enthusiasm and fascination for them to educate and captivate the reader."--Florida Living
--Florida Living

"Although Swamp Song could easily contribute to one's library as a valuable reference guide to the many and diverse forested wetland systems of Florida, it is more likely to be read more often for pleasure and inspiration." "This book is recommended for both the wetlands professional and the individual curious about the natural history of Florida's wetlands."
--Wetland Journal

"a good addition to high school and college libraries, especially in southeastern states. It would be a valuable reference for those who plan to visit Florida's wetlands for course work or the sheer pleasure of discovering the beauty of these habitats. This volume would be an excellent ecological reference for high school or colllege students. In my opinion, Swamp Song would be a valuable source of information for instructors and students in travel courses or field trips visiting Florida wetland habitats."
--American Biology Teacher

"Since other swamps, which may contain many of the same species of plants and animals, occur along the coasts from the Carolinas to eastern Texas, information on Florida swamps is applicable to those areas as well." "this book has a great deal to recommend it. As a succinct and authoritavie source of information covering the entire range of subjects relating to Florida swamps, the book is hard to beat."
--ASB Bulletin

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