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Recent books on tree species
Recent books on forest history


Identifying fuelwood species

Common fuelwood crops: a handbook for their identification. Elbert L. Little, Jr. Commun-Tech Associates, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. 1983. 354 p. Price: S13.50 (softcover).

Reviewed by Richard Pardo

In 1980, the US National Academy of Sciences published a book entitled Firewood crops: shrub and tree species for energy production, describing 60 species having particular potential for fuelwood production. This new book was written specifically to complement that publication by providing a manual for field identification of the species covered by NAS and 30 additional species.

Non-technical botanical descriptions, range maps and illustrations showing details of leaves, flowers and fruit are provided for each species, so that the reader need not be a technical botanist or even a forester to be able to identify the tree in the field. Drawings have been assembled, from a variety of sources, for nearly all species. While the result is a rather uneven assortment of illustrations, all but a few are complete enough to allow identification of typical specimens by non-technical field personnel.

The text for each species includes the botanical and common name and descriptions of leaves, flowers, twigs, fruits and other identifying characteristics, followed by brief accounts of other uses of the wood, the natural distribution of the species (with maps in most cases), and soil and climate characteristics. A description and keys to individual species are provided for the seven genera that have three or more species described in the book, and for the 10 species of mangroves included.

Nearly all of the species described are trees, rather than shrubs, and all are hardwoods with the exception of three species in the genus Pinus. Of the 90 species covered in the handbook, 33 are classified as trees of the humid tropics, 15 of the tropical highlands and the remaining 42 of arid and semi-arid regions. An index of common names provides a helpful guide to locating species on the basis of the most widely used common names.

The author, until his retirement Chief Dendrologist of the US Forest Service, has spent more than half a century as a tree-identification specialist, with many publications to his credit, including the Checklist of United Slates trees, the recent Audubon Society field guide to North American trees and, as co-author, Common trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In writing this latest book, Little has combined his vast experience and knowledge with his practical skills as a meticulous scientist to produce a valuable and useful handbook. Common fuelwood crops belongs in the hands of anyone working or teaching in the field of tropical forestry, especially in the area of fuelwood production.

Richard Pardo is a Forestry Officer in the Forest Resources Division of FAO.

Acacia nilotica IN THE SAHEL tannin from the pods is a valuable cash crop (VAN MAYDELL)


A species for arid lands

Screening Prosopis (mesquite) for biofuel production on semi-arid lands. P. Felker, G.H. Cannel, P.R. Clark, J.F. Osborn and P. Nash. US Department of Energy, Washington, D.C. 1982. 226 p. No price quoted.

This report, which includes the results of a comprehensive study sponsored by the US Department of Energy during 1978-1981, is one of the very few applied works on Prosopis species. This genus contains valuable heat- and drought-resistant species which are nitrogen-fixing trees on arid and semi-arid lands in the tropics and subtropics. The report features the mesquite, which could be important in arid-land development, desertification control and fuelwood production.

For copies, contact the US Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., or Dr P. Felker, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A and I University, Kingsville, Texas 78363, USA.

Dipterocarps in Malaysia

Dipterocarpaceae. Ed. P.S. Ashton. Flora Malesiana, Series I, Vol. 9, Part 2. The Hague, Nijhoff 1982. 316 p., 118 figures. Price fl 1 58.

This long-awaited monograph about Malaysia's dipterocarps is based on Dr Ashton's extensive forest experience in northern Borneo and his subsequent study tours to most other places where Asian dipterocarps grow. Dr Ashton had begun his work on Dlpterocarpaceae as a forest botanist in Brunei in 1957. He then became forest botanist in neighbouring Sarawak. An account of the Brunei dipterocarps was published in 1965 and an updating supplement was made for Sarawak in 1968.

Dipterocarpaceae's long introductory essay reviews concisely and succinctly the enormous bibliography on this pre-eminently important tree family (10 genera and 386 species) of Peninsular Malaysia's rain forests. A detailed regional taxonomic section follows.

In spite of its high price, this impressive research volume should appeal to all foresters concerned with dipterocarp forests. Its consultation will enable them to identify any species they encounter and to prepare a set of identification keys for their own locality. Teachers of forestry will appreciate Ashton's excellent accounts of fossil, morphology, anatomy, cytotaxonomy, phytochemistry, problems of delimitation of species and subspecies, evolutionary trends and family relationships.

T.C. Whitmore
Commonwealth Forestry Review

Paper and pulp go polyglot

International glossary of technical terms for the pulp and paper industry. Pulp and Paper International Book Department, 500 Howard Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94105. 1982. 240 p. Price: $35.

Many specialized terms are used in the pulp and paper industry that cannot be found in regular two-language dictionaries. With this in mind, the editors of Pulp and Paper and Pulp and Paper International have recently published a polyglot glossary of 6 252 frequently used words and phrases in pulp and paper operations. These terms are arranged alphabetically in English and followed by their equivalents in Swedish, German, French and Spanish.

The words and phrases selected cover every phase of the industry-forestry, wood-handling, pulping, paper-making, finishing, converting, testing, warehousing, shipping, marketing, and research and development. The entries also include specialized terms for the chemicals, machinery and equipment used by the industry.

Although the glossary is organized in English, there are four separate bilingual indexes in Swedish, German, French and Spanish, so the non-English-speaking user can promptly find entries in the other languages.

All about chain saws

Chainsaw savvy: a complete guide. Neil Soderstrom. Dobbs Ferry, New York, Morgan. 1982. 144 p. Price: $9.95.

This how-to book about chainsawing is divided into three parts. The 12 chapters of part I teach the reader how to use a chain-saw - what to do and what not to do. Part II looks at the anatomy of the saw and how to keep it in good shape. Part 111 continues this emphasis on maintenance and warns about the troubles that such an intricate tool can cause its users. Soderstrom's own photographs and skilfully designed diagrams further clarify his already straightforward text.

New ways of fighting forest fires

Forest fire prevention and control. Ed. Tran van Nao. The Hague, Nijhoff/Junk. 1982. ISBN 90-247-3050-3. 230 p. Price: fl 90.

Although the Mediterranean, because of its dry climate and strong winds, is considered Europe's most vulnerable region to forest fires, no region - in Europe or elsewhere - is totally immune. During the last decade there has been a dangerous increase in the number of forest fires, particularly in Europe. Damage has been especially severe in areas where pine are the predominant species.

With this in mind, experts from 20 countries participated in a seminar in Warsaw on forest-fire prevention and control, from 20 to 22 May 1981. The purposes of the seminar organized by the Timber Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, were:

· to increase public awareness of the danger of forest fires and the need for more effective prevention and control measures;

· to help countries improve prevention and control methods through an exchange of experiences and opinions between world specialists;

· to improve techniques of restoring productivity and environmental health to fire-damaged forest land.

The present volume contains the proceedings of this seminar.

Estimates of financial and ecological losses from forest fires have often been inaccurate, because methods of collecting data on world-wide fire occurrence and areas burned have not been standardized. Little information is available on vegetation destroyed, the costs of restoration and the implications for recreation and tourism.

CHAIN-SAWS CAN BE DANGEROUS a limit of ski: hours of work a day

Although forest fires are usually considered a national problem, they become an international one near borders or when the ecological impacts are felt over long distances. Forest fire prevention and control is divided into several sections: an overview of forest fire problems; fire-risk evaluation and development of forest fires; detection planning and organization and techniques of forest fire control; suppression techniques; silvicultural measures to reduce forest-fire risk; fire's effects on the environment; and support measures in forest-fire control.

A slightly modified version of the article by Giancarlo Calabri was recently published in Unasylva ("Fighting fires in Mediterranean forests", Vol. 35, No. 141).

Asian forestry directory

Asian forestry, products and services, 1982. Singapore, Eastern Associates. 1982. 256 p. No price quoted.

This directory lists up to 60 addresses per page of companies in selected Asian countries engaged in business in the various sectors of forest industry - imber, cane, rattan, plywood and veneer, and associated machinery for logging, sawmilling and woodworking. The companies are listed alphabetically in English by country and then by sector. The countries covered are Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Apart from a few Scandinavian, German and Canadian enterprises, all the advertisers are Asian. Those who wish to appear in the next edition should write to The Editor, Eastern Publishing Associates Pte Ltd. Maxwell Road, P.O. Box 3729, Singapore 9057.

WIDELY DISTRIBUTED Acacia aneura economically valuable in rural areas

Fuelwood organizations in Africa

Directory of NGOs working on renewable energy and fuelwood projects in Africa. The Environment Liaison Centre, P.O. Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya. 1982 41 p. Available in English or French. Copies free of charge upon request.

Between November 1981 and February 1982, the Environment Liaison Centre sent out a survey questionnaire to more than 330 African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in tree-planting, fuelwood and energy-related projects.

Section I of this directory includes annotations on the nearly 150 NGOs from 39 African countries that responded. The NGOs are listed in alphabetical order by country. Each entry includes the address, the name of the coordinator to contact, a telephone number and cable address, the NGO's focus and an up-to-date list of its energy activities.

Section II lists by country, with their addresses, additional NGOs that did not answer the questionnaire but are potential sources of energy information.

Trees of the Amazon

Maderas de Amazonia: identificação de 100 espécies. C.M.S. Faria. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rede Ferroviaria Federal S.A. 1981. 313 p. In Portuguese. No price quoted.

This catalogue describes the characteristics of 100 Amazon wood species. The text includes information about colour rings, odour, taste, polish, grain, texture, rays and density. There are colour photographs and cross-sections with x 10 magnification of each species.

Puerto Rican medicinal plants

Plantas medicinales de Puerto Rico. Esteban Nuñez Meléndez. Puerto Rico, Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, P.R. 00391. 1982. 398 p. Available in Spanish only. Price: $12 (softcover).

This book is a compendium of information from many sources about 400 plant species that are valuable as home medicines or as sources of commercial drugs. Many of these plants are trees that are found throughout the tropics. Most species are illustrated.

Recent books on tree species

Classifying Australian acacias

Acacias of Australia. Marion H. Simmons. Melbourne, Thomas Nelson Australia. 1981. 325 p., including 54 coloured plates and 151 line drawings. Price: US $29.95.

Scientists have estimated that there are more than 1200 species of Acacia and that more than 700 of them are native to Australia. However, no one has yet presented a classification of all Australian species and Simmons here discusses only 150, which she has subdivided into 17 groups. Her primary subdivision is based on leaf structure, according to whether the leaves are bipinnate or are reduced to phyllodes or are absent.

Species are listed in alphabetical order with their common name, distribution, habit, foliage, flowers, pods, seeds and special features that help in identification. Comments are made on propagation and conditions suitable for growth. A line drawing of each species faces the text.

Brazilian native trees

Anais do Congresso Nacional sobre Essências Nativas. Proceedings of the National Congress on Native Species, held in Campos do Jordão, São Paulo, Brazil, 12-18 September 1982. Instituto Florestal, Serviço de Comunicações Técnico-Cientifícas, Setor de Publicações, Caixa Postal 1322, São Paulo. 3 vols, 2 010 p., numerous charts, graphs and bibliographies. In Portuguese.

These Proceedings, published by the Forestry Institute of the State Secretariat of Agriculture of São Paulo, Brazil, open with the lectures given by guest speakers at the meeting. These are followed by technical papers which were presented by specialists. The technical papers are grouped by field of study:

1. anatomy, taxonomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology)

2. phytogeography, ecology, inventory;

3. silviculture, management, agrosilviculture and genetic improvement;

4. parasitology: pests and diseases, ecological damage caused by external agents (fires, pollution, floods, etc.);

5. logging and transport, technology and processing, secondary products, energy;

6. legislation, economics and planning;

7. wildlife, watersheds, national parks and other protected areas;

8. land-use planning, landscape, urban green areas, recreation and other related aspects.

A multi-purpose legume

Leucaena leucocephala: the Indonesian experience. Hartano Wirjodarmodjo and Piran Wiroatmodjo Bangkok, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. 1983. 26 p. of text, 15 black-and-white photographs.

This report examines the Indonesian experience in growing and utilizing Leucaena leucocephala, a versatile legume with an overall potential for reforestation and soil improvement, fuelwood, fueling intustrial boilers, and producing pulp and animal forage.

"Despite its promise, the success of Leucaena leucocephala is by no means uniform," writes S.S. Puri, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, in an introduction. "There are many varieties of the species and the responses of the various cultivars to different soils, altitudes, latitudes, temperatures, moisture and pests are still under trial."

Topics covered by the report include: species and varieties, distribution, silviculture, growth and yield, and utilization.

FAST-GROWING Leucaena leucocephala a source of fuelwood, pulp and animal fodder (F. BOTTS)

SILVER LEAVED MOUNTAIN GUM, Eucalyptus pulverulenta an ornamental species suitable for breeding trials (C. PALMBERG)

Arid zone plants

Plants of western New South Wales. G.M. Cunningham, W.E. Mulham, P.L. Milthorpe and J.H. Leigh. Published in association with the Soil Conservation Service of New South wales, Australia, by the NSW Government Printing Office 1981. 766 p. No price quoted.

Vegetation types occurring under the semi-arid to arid conditions described in the detailed introduction to this book are attracting increasing interest world-wide. Roughly 2 000 species are found within the 435 000 km² of western New South Wales. They occur on a variety of soils derived from parent materials, many of them between 480 million and 1 800 million years old. These natural plants represent an important genetic resource which has adapted to particularly difficult conditions.

This book promotes both popular knowledge of the species described and, thereby, conservation. It provides correct species identifications, assisted by clear botanical descriptions and excellent colour photographs and line drawings of a large proportion of the species described. Each brief description covers the common name, habitat and distribution and contains notes on species characteristics and uses within 113 families of flowering plants and ferns. The origin of each species is coded to indicate whether a given species is natural or introduced. One assumes that by far the great majority are natural and that many, indeed, are fascinating.

Robin Levingston
FAO, Rome

Endangered eucalypts

Australian endangered species: eucalypts. L.D. Pryor. Special Publication 5, Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 636 Canberra City ACT 2601

Australia. 1981. ISBN 0-64289679-8. 139 p. No price quoted.

Only a small proportion of Australia is forest-covered. Nevertheless, trees of the genus Eucalyptus are a dominant feature of the landscape in many regions. These range from the cold, alpine areas in the south to the tropical north, with its extremes of wet and dry. Eucalypts are also found along watercourses in the arid inland.

Because of their abundance, variety and widespread distribution, eucalypts are essential to the life cycle of many native animals and plants. Forests of eucalypts protect water catchments and provide most of the native timber used in commerce. The two tallest hardwood trees in the world are eucalypts: the mountain ash and the karri.

Through seed export, eucalypts have been introduced into many countries for amenity and for wood production. Thus Australians have a unique international responsibility to protect representative natural stands of eucalypt species.

In this study Professor Pryor examines the current state of the endangered and rare eucalypts throughout Australia; he describes the causes of reduction in eucalyptus populations, threatened eucalyptus ecosystems and the means for ensuring the survival of threatened species - the survival of almost one-quarter of the 550 known Australian species is, in one way or another, uncertain; he also discusses unusual provenances and biological considerations for species with restricted distribution. But most of this study is devoted to a catalogue of Australia's endangered Eucalyptus species.

Professor Pryor is a Visiting Fellow of the Department of Forestry, Australian National University, Canberra. His review of Eucalypts for planting, No. 11 in the FAO Forestry Series (1981), appeared in Unasylva, Vol. 34, No. 137 (1982), and his article "Reproductive habits of the eucalypts" in Vol. 30, No. 119/120 (1978).

Tropical trees

NSW rainforest trees, V. Families Sapindaceae and Akaniaceae. A.G. Floyd. Forestry Commission of New South Wales, Research Note 32. 2nd edition, 1981. 86 p. No price quoted.

There are tropical as well as temperate rain forests in Australia. Each has a distinctive flora. This booklet is the fifth in a series of 12 on rain-forest trees in New South Wales. Species descriptions with emphasis on forest character and detailed habitat notes follow keys to the leaves, twigs and bark of the Sapindaceae (15 genera, 32 species). All species are illustrated by a full-page line drawing. Akaniaceae are an endemic family of just one species, closely related to Sapindaceae and found in the rain forests of eastern Australia. In New South Wales, Sapindaceae, which are essentially tropical, reach their southern limit.

Recent books on forest history

Ten centuries of English forestry

A history of English forestry. N.D. G. James. Oxford Basil Blackwell. 1981. ISBN 0-631-12495-0. xii + 337 p., 24 illustrations, 2 maps. Price: £19.50. Available from Biblio Distribution Center, 81 Adams Drive, Totowa, N.J. 07512, USA. Price $40.

This handsomely bound and illustrated book is a history of English forestry from the Norman Conquest to the present. It is divided into two parts and six appendixes, including a glossary of old forest terms; a chronological list of government reports on forests and forestry; a list of committees of the Forestry Commission; and a time-chart of notable dates in English forestry history.

Part one, "The medieval forest", spans the 500 years from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the middle of the sixteenth century. The Normans wrote England's first forestry laws. They loved to hunt, and established forests as the exclusive hunting preserves of the king.

Part two, "The development of modern forestry", takes us up to the present. The sixteenth century saw the gradual eclipse of forests as exclusive royal hunting preserves. The first records of silviculture, at Crabourne Grove in Windsor Forest, date from 1550-1560, when forests became important sources of timber for fuel, housing and shipbuilding.

The use of wood increased greatly during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, be cause of the substantial increase in the size of British ships. The demand for wood for, shipbuilding stimulated the first extensive afforestation efforts in England, which James calls "the new forestry". Experimental planting techniques from Germany greatly influenced English forestry methods during this period.

The development of ironclad ships during the American Civil War effectively ended the demand for ship timber, and timber's primary use was now as fuelwood and as charcoal for iron-smelting. After the First World War, during which there were timber shortages in England because the supply of imported wood was interrupted, the forestry subcommittee of the reconstruction committee appointed in 1916, sought uses to ensure an adequate future supply of domestic timber for critical defence. However, during the Second World War, the U-boat blockade resulted in severe overcutting of domestic forests.

The book concludes with a review of the post-war years, when extensive rebuilding of forests was undertaken. Policy also accommodated environmental and recreational concerns, some of which were resisted by foresters who continued to see the guarantee of an adequate timber supply during national emergencies as their most urgent objective.

James has long experience in private forestry as land agent to the Oxford University Chest and as agent for Lord Clunton, and he is a past president of the Royal Forestry Society of England. He wrote this history to commemorate the centenary of the Royal Forestry Society of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Bruce Campbell
Commonwealth Forestry Review

Harold Wisdom
Journal of Forestry

Forestry In Portugal

80 Anos de Atividade na Correcção Torrencial-Hidráulica Florestal (1901-1980). Eduardo de Campos Andrada. Lisbon, Forest Service Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Fisheries. 1982. 106 p., numerous photographs, both black-and-white and colour, 3 maps. In Portuguese. No price quoted.

This official publication of the Portuguese Forest Service is intended to serve as publicity for its activities in soil conservation and as a textbook for training purposes. The text gives a history of the Forest Service's work to date in soil conservation and discusses the causes and effects of erosion; programmes for combating both gully and sheet erosion; watercourse correction procedures; and reforestation of catchment areas. The addenda deal mostly with soil conservation policy and legislation.

History of fire In the USA

Fire in America: a cultural history of wildland and rural fire. Stephen J. Pyne. New Jersey, USA, Princeton U. Pr. 1982. 670 p., 38 illusutrations. Price: $35.00.

Stephen Pyne explores the efforts of successive American cultures to master and use the awe-inspiring phenomenon of fire. Drawing on detailed analysis of ecological studies, historical accounts, literary references and anecdotes, he shows how a variety of "fire regimes" were begun under the influence of American Indians. The Indians, Pyne says, were skilled environmental managers whose practices, ironically prepared the way for their displacement by European settlers.

Chapters are organized by topic ecology, fire-management policy, equipment, manpower, scientific research - with developments described chronologically within each chapter. Pyne traces the evolution of the fire regimes from frontier days to the present. He discusses the development of fire-control and fire-management policies within the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the state forestry agencies. These discussions demonstrate how cultural perceptions and external circumstances act to control the internal operating policies of the resource agencies.

The New York Times Rook Review declares Fire in America to be "the biggest, most ambitious and fact-filled book about woodland, brush and prairie fires in the United States. Reading it is like backpacking through the nation's forests in company with a modern-day Thoreau".


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