A West Virginia University scholar has seen a niche and filled it in the field of wetlands research techniques.
Jim Anderson, professor of wildlife and fisheries resources in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, has co-edited the three-volume Wetland Techniques for Springer.
“I started thinking about a wetland techniques book in 2007,” said Anderson, Davis-Michael Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources and director of WVU’s Environmental Research Center. “I was preparing a talk for the Society of Wetland Scientists’ conference entitled ‘What’s being taught in wetland class?’
“One of the topics I covered was the books being used in courses and the topics being covered,” he said. “There were a number of wetland ecology books, but no how-to books.”
Coming from a wildlife background, where techniques is a common component for the curriculum, Anderson found this strange and thought it would make a nice book topic.
A year later, Anderson carved out time to begin work on the book, deciding to model it after a popular wildlife techniques book, which draws on a host of experts.
“I started coming up with a list of topics and potential chapter authors, but I felt like the book could be improved if I had some additional help with planning,” Anderson said.
He turned to Craig Davis, a friend and colleague at Oklahoma State University, and they a developed a list of topics and identified potential authors for each topic.
“We started working on the book and eventually pushed the idea to Springer, who agreed to publish the work,” Anderson said. “Originally, it was supposed to be one volume, but it grew too extensive, so Springer agreed to publish it in a three-volume set.”
Wetlands serve many important functions and provide numerous ecological services such as clean water, wildlife habitat, nutrient reduction and flood control. Wetland science is a relatively young discipline but is a rapidly growing field due to an enhanced understanding of the importance of wetlands and the numerous laws and policies that have been developed to protect these areas.
This growth is demonstrated by the creation and growth of the Society of Wetland Scientists which was formed in 1980 and now has a membership of 3,500 people. \It is also illustrated by the existence of 2 journals (Wetlands and Wetlands Ecology and Management) devoted entirely to wetlands.
The Wetland Techniques series provides an overview of the various methods that have been used or developed by researchers and practitioners to study, monitor, manage, or create wetlands. “Including many methods usually found only in the peer-reviewed or gray literature, the three-volume set fills a major niche that is useful for all professionals dealing with wetlands,” Anderson said.
Volume one provides foundations in the discipline. Volume two looks at the organisms that populate wetlands and how to sample and evaluate their populations. Volume three examines common applications and techniques in the field.
Anderson drew on the expertise of WVU colleagues while editing the series. David Smaldone, associate professor of recreation, parks and tourism resources, wrote a chapter on interpretation and education programs for wetlands, Yong-Lak Park, an associate professor in entomology, and graduate student Matthew McKinney co-authored a chapter on invertebrate sampling chapter with Anderson and colleagues from Argentina. Walter Veselka, a wildlife biologist with WVU at the time who currently runs an environmental consultancy with several other WVU graduates, co-authored a chapter on wetland indices of biotic integrity.
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