After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens


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After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: University of Washington Press Pages: 264 Illustrations and other contents: 20 color illus., 2 b&w illus., 1 map Language: English ISBN: 9780295746937 Categories: , , , ,

On May 18, 1980, people all over the world watched with awe and horror as Mount St. Helens erupted. Fifty-seven people were killed and hundreds of square miles of what had been lush forests and wild rivers were to all appearances destroyed. Ecologists thought they would have to wait years, or even decades, for life to return to the mountain, but when forest scientist Jerry Franklin helicoptered into the blast area a couple of weeks after the eruption, he found small plants bursting through the ash and animals skittering over the ground. Stunned, he realized he and his colleagues had been thinking of the volcano in completely the wrong way. Rather than being a dead zone, the mountain was very much alive. Mount St. Helens has been surprising ecologists ever since, and in After the Blast Eric Wagner takes readers on a fascinating journey through the blast area and beyond. From fireweed to elk, the plants and animals Franklin saw would not just change how ecologists approached the eruption and its landscape, but also prompt them to think in new ways about how life responds in the face of seemingly total devastation.

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Like the seeds of lupine, Mount St. Helens is fortunate that such a writer landed on its soil, turning desolation into fertile ground. * Natural History Magazine * It is a wonderful story that combines ecology, sociology, and anthropology to paint a picture of nature that can give us a feeling of hope. * In Defense of Plants * Author Eric Wagner takes a lively, enthusiastic look at the post-eruption landscape. * The Oregonian * The book is richly illustrated, supporting Wagner's evocative description of both the site and the procedures of the scientists he followed, a true window into the world of field science. * Choice * This is a superb look at scientists and science at work. * Publishers Weekly *

Author Biography

Eric Wagner earned a PhD in biology from the University of Washington, writes regularly about animals and the environment, and is author of Penguins in the Desert and coauthor of Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish. He climbs Mount St. Helens annually.