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From the foreword:
“Books like this one contribute much to the public understanding and appreciation of this magnificent subtropical ecosystem and the unique native plants and animals it supports. . . . The Big Cypress Watershed must be regarded as a natural trust from the past and a bequest to future generations. All of us have the responsibility to understand and conserve this natural treasure, and Southwest Florida’s Wetland Wilderness shows us good reasons to do so.”–John H. Fitch, president, The Conservancy, Naples, Florida
Guiding visitors and nature lovers through a subtropical paradise, this book celebrates the natural history of one of the most diverse, endangered, and beautiful ecosystems in the world, Florida’s Big Cypress Swamp watershed.
Jeff Ripple examines the inner workings of this watershed, including its swamps, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, freshwater marshes and wet prairies, mangroves, and the Ten Thousand Island estuarine system. He describes the region’s geology, climate, human use (and abuse), and its urgent conservation issues. In addition, he discusses the history, management philosophies, and recreational opportunities of the area’s national, state, and private conservation areas (such as Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve).
His account is enhanced by 24 magnificent black-and-white photographs by Clyde Butcher, one of Florida’s most acclaimed landscape photographers.
A rare union of talent and vision, this book combines the work of two individuals who devote their lives to discovering and recording places in Florida that still are wild and natural.
Jeff Ripple, natural history writer and photographer, spends much of his time exploring the wilds of his home state, Florida. He is the author of Big Cypress Swamp and the Ten Thousand Islands (of which the current book is a revised and expanded edition), The Florida Keys–Natural Wonders of an Island Paradise, and Sea Turtles. Ripple lives with his wife, Renee, on eight wooded acres near Gainesville. Clyde Butcher has been a fine-art photographer for more than 30 years, with the majority of his current work focused on Florida’s disappearing natural landscape. A selection of it appears in Clyde Butcher: Portfolio I. His work can be seen at Big Cypress Gallery, located near his home in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
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