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Landsat for the layman
Tropical rangelands
Classifying forest cover types
Building with bamboo
Mini-nature reserves for city dwellers
A bibliography of wood-use periodicals

Landsat for the layman

The application of Landsat data to tropical forest surveys, by R. Baltaxe. FAO, Rome, 1980. Figures, charts, bibliography. Three black-and-white and four colour photographs. 122 p.

This study, available in English, French and Spanish, tries to make a realistic assessment of the extent to which Landsat data can be used for a survey of forest areas in the tropics. The goal is to provide forestry personnel without prior experience in Landsat data with enough information either to make judgments themselves, or at least to ask knowledgeable questions, about whether it would be useful in making a needed survey in their area.

Since neither the numerical data - in the form of digital spectral radiance numbers - nor its analogue presentations permit the direct recognition of objects on the ground, except at a relatively elementary level, interpretation must be made in two separate steps: first, detection of variations in the data, or "feature separation;" and second, identification of these features using other information sources be sides Landsat. Chapter three treats the first of these steps, showing how various data forms can be characterized and processed. Chapter four emphasizes operational procedures.

There follow descriptions of a series of applications of Landsat data to the survey of forest, plantations and related land use and vegetation types in the tropics, demonstrating the wide range of uses to which Landsat has been put as well as the variety of methods which have been employed and the results obtained. These examples are also used to illustrate the significance of data characteristics and of the procedures and methods discussed in Chapters three and four.

A fairly comprehensive overview is provided of available experience concerning the possibility and limitations of Landsat data for tropical forest surveys as a function of the type of data and the interpretation techniques used and of the nature of the forests surveyed. The final chapter reviews the main considerations to be taken into account for assessing the feasibility of using Landsat data for tropical forest surveys and for the execution of such surveys.

Tropical rangelands

Management of rangelands and other grazing lands of the tropics and subtropics for support of livestock production, by Howard Sprague. AID Resources Report, Room 509, SA- 14, Office of Development Information and Utilization, Bureau for Development Support, US Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C. 20523, 106 p.

This report summarizes available information on tropical and sub-tropical grasslands and gives detailed methods for introducing productive management practices such as coordinating forage areas with the numbers of livestock to provide year-round feed supplies; providing mineral supplements to native forage and correcting mineral deficiencies in soils; rotating grazing lands to provide natural reforestation of vegetative cover at regular intervals; and protecting against wind erosion and improving conservation in areas of limited rainfall.

"In many developing countries,' the author says, "them is no incentive, no inducement, no reward for trying to manage rangelands." He believes that this is because too often a proper land tenure base has not been established.

The report also includes tables on nutritional values of different forages, seed characteristics and adaptive features of forage grasses, and a comprehensive listing of international sources for seeds of tropical legumes. A list of 51 recommended species for different annual rainfall regions is included.

Classifying forest cover types

Forest cover types of the United States and Canada, edited by F.H. Eyre. Washington, D.C., Society of American Foresters, 1980. 148 p.

Identifying, classifying and describing forest cover types has long been a concern of the Society of American Foresters (SAF). In 1932, the first description of forest types in the eastern United States appeared in the Journal of Forestry. Eight years later, in 1940, a companion bulletin appeared entitled Forest types of Western North America. An update, expanding the inventory in Canada, appeared in 1954 entitled Forest cover types of North America (exclusive of Mexico).

The present volume, appearing after an interlude of 26 years, has brought considerable changes. New evaluations have brought the deletion of 22 types, the addition of 11 new ones and the retaining of 27.

The book is composed almost entirely of descriptions of the 145 forest cover types, each written by a different expert. Accompanying the book is an excellent colour map showing the distribution of forest cover types in the United States.

Building with bamboo

Bamboo: a series of articles on the use of bamboo in building construction, collected by Jules J.A. Janssen. Eindhoven, the Netherlands. University of Technology, 1980. 125 p. Price: £3.00 by surface mail; £3.50 by air mail.

Bamboo has been used for the construction of boats, village houses, bridges and other simple structures since ancient times. It is abundantly available in many parts of the world and its cheapness and lightness make it accessible as a source of basic shelter for the rural poor. What has been lacking, according to a review by Derek Miles in Appropriate technology, is information on simple techniques for preservation and use of the wood.

The book has an interesting format, consisting of bits of information gathered by Dr. Janssen over many years, most of it previously unpublished. It is lavishly illustrated with helpful photographs and line drawings which considerably enhance its value to those without formal technical training. Starting with buildings, Janssen goes on to describe and illustrate a fascinating variety of bridges, including floating bridges, a vine aerial cable-way, a single-cable suspension footbridge and a pylon bridge.

The next section shows how bamboo panels can be laid to keep rural roads and tracks open during wet weather. A brief chapter illustrates a variety of simply made bamboo rafts and ferries, and the final chapter shows how hollow bamboo can be connected for use as water distribution pipes.

Mini-nature reserves for city dwellers

Sciences de et dans la nature, Notre laboratoire en pleine nature, Ernst Zimmerli, 1980, World Wildlife Fund, Case Postale 8037, Zurich, Switzerland. Price: 46 F.

Dramatic movements of rural populations to cities and adjacent settlements are taking place at an increasing rate, particularly in the less developed countries of the world. A result of this global trend is the loss of day-to-day contact with and appreciation for the natural environment by urban dwellers. Ernst Zimmerli's book, available in French and German, is a useful tool for educators and nature enthusiasts interested in creating "mini-nature reserves" not only in rural areas but in densely populated areas as well. The 250-page book is a practical, detailed guide for the establishment and maintenance of mini-nature reserves, aquatic study areas and nature trails. It has numerous examples of environmental teaching methods designed for use by primary schools, secondary schools, and adult educational institutions, both formal and informal. This easy-to-use book also contains a small field guide to the plants and animals of central Europe, an extensive bibliography, colour photographs, and numerous designs and illustrations for structures which can be used to develop natural study areas. Although specifically designed by the Swiss World Wildlife Fund for use in Europe, it is a basically useful publication for many parts of the world.

Parks Magazine

A bibliography of wood-use periodicals

Annotated Bibliography of Wood Energy Periodicals. Available from Publications Office, Resource Policy Center Box 8000, Thayer School, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. Price, $3.00

The Resource Policy Center at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering in the United States has completed an exhaustive survey of periodicals that cover topics related to the use of wood fuels. From Alcohol Update to Quads, there are 22 journals and newsletters that focus explicitly on the use of wood and other biomass sources for energy. Another 31 publications provide frequent information of use to those interested in the current and future prospects for wood energy use.

The bibliography provides for each of 53 periodicals: title, publisher, address, cost, frequency, typical length, and illustrative article titles.

The Center has itself conducted a large number of analyses on social, economic, and environmental aspects of wood energy use and a free publications order-form listing nearly 30 reports on wood energy issues is available upon request.

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Eucalypts for your bookshelf

Eucalypts are especially important for developing countries because of their fast growth, wide adaptability from semi-desert to cold temperate environments and their many uses - sawnwood, pulpwood, wood-based panels, utility timber, environmental and amenity planting and for fast growing fuelwood plantations.

The new FAO edition of Eucalypts for planting has been completely rewritten. Eucalypts for planting belongs on the shelves of libraries and forest services and in the private collection of anyone who wants the basics of eucalypt planting and management in one handy volume.

Distribution and Sales Section FAO Via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome, Italy

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