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Wetlands Lit

How to learn more about the region’s diverse ecosystems.

By Charles J. Lohrmann

Wetlands are mysterious landscapes, but well-presented information can transform that mystery into understanding and appreciation. For the most essential background about Texas’ coastal wetlands, turn to Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the Western Gulf Coast (477 pages, distributed by University of Texas Press, $29.95, softcover). Even though it is printed in black-only, the extensive drawings and photographs, along with concise descriptive text, combine to form an encyclopedic guide to wetlands.

If you’re drawn more to the wetlands that appear in the desert and mountain reaches of the West, look for a copy of Wetland and Riparian Areas of the Intermountain West: Ecology and Management (335 pages, University of Texas Press, $39.95, hardcover). As its title states, this book offers insight into the intermountain region that covers parts of 11 western states. Even though Texas is not included in this region, the book presents legal issues, ecology, management approaches and restoration techniques that relate to West Texas. Its academic chapter titles come across like a textbook, but the content is, nonetheless, approachable.

For a fascinating — and probably unexpected — story of the true pirogue-poling, muskrat-skinning Cajuns who make a living in the “strange and exotic” region that stretches from Sabine Lake to Vermilion Bay, read A Wetland Biography: Seasons on Louisiana’s Chenier Plain (286 pages, University of Texas Press, $18.95 softcover). A rich mixture of folk history, ecology and biology, this book takes you trapping, fishing and hunting in the long-suffering and still-challenging environment that was hammered by the brutality of the first wave of Hurricane Rita’s wrath.

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