Friday, January 4, 2013

#47 Life in the Soil

Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and GardenersLife in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners by James B. Nardi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This really is a very beautiful book. Nardi has produced very nice pencil illustrations of each of the major groups of animals that he covers. He also has put in some nice color illustrations and photos in the center of the book. It took me quite a long time to get through the entire book mostly because I spent a lot of time examining each illustration. They really are remarkable illustrations.

Nardi begins by giving an overview of how soil is formed, the various cycles of nutrients important to the soil, and the partnerships between soil inhabitants.

The central part of the book, and it's bulk is a field guide to the inhabitants of the soil. This guide won't help you identify many creatures to the species level, but it will help to slot almost all soil inhabitants into an appropriate taxon, whether that taxon be at the phylum level (or even kingdom level) all the way down to species for some creatures. More importantly, Nardi describes how each creature fits into the soil community.

After a brief section on promoting healthy soils, Nardi gives some tips on how to observe and collect soil inhabitants. I'm looking forward to trying some of his suggestions...just as soon as I find the time.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in what lives in the soil. Of course you may get some weird looks from people who don't share an interest in the creepy-crawlies that live in the dirt.

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