New Guide to Trees of New Jersey
The New Jersey Forest Service recently published a handy little guidebook, Trees of New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic States, which was sent to us by Christopher Martine, Staff Ecologist. We are pleased to review this 108-page book and make it available to our members and friends. Principal editor of the book is respected tree expert Dr. John Kuser of the Cook College Department of Ecology and Evolution with assistance and range information supplied by David MacFarlane.
This is not a guide for those who know well their barks and bundle scars and move with ease through the Peterson's tree book. However, if you are among the arborally challenged (and this reviewer definitely is) you might be more comfortable with this new book as your primary guide. Only the species you are likely to come across in New Jersey are covered (146 in all), using a simplified key approach. Simple drawings of leaf types and arrangements and fruit types help get you started and a glossary in the back gets you through the botanical lingo. Most of the species included are accompanied by concise black and white line drawings, many of which were done for Common Forest Trees of New Jersey in the 1950's.
A good sampling of New Jersey's native trees are profiled; 27 non-indigenous species are given full-page treatment as well, including some exotics that have naturalized. A narrative at the end of each profile offers facts about each tree's natural history, historical uses and ecology. All in all, the book is clear and thorough enough (and small enough) to be a welcome companion on your walks, whether through woodland, along the canal or in a city park. Little "Info-Boxes" tucked here and there help make the book fun reading anywhere. It also includes a brief history of the NJ Forest Service, a list of their programs and contacts for further information. And, should you be so lucky, there is a form to photocopy for submitting candidates to the New Jersey Big Tree Program.
There is also a companion guide "Shrubs and Vines of New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic States" by the same author.
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