The regional chapters
In each chapter, the geography overview begins with a brief description and delimitation of the physical area, followed by a summary of the human history of the region, with discussion of the influence of human activity on the environment, which has implications for conifer habitats and conservation. A short geological history is given to help understanding the climate and vegetation history of the region. An overview of the geographic regions outlines physiographic divisions. Introduction to the region contains a summary of the climate zones, the vegetation history and floristics, the vegetation zones and conifers, and the conifers of the region described as based on the authors’ own field experience. A list of the conifers of the region and a cross-referenced list of the associated taxa also appears in the introduction.
Range Maps (see sample below) are an important feature of the book, compiled from published sources complemented by the authors’ field experience. Some maps include the range of related taxa so as to draw attention to their relationships and indicate possible alternative interpretations of their range(s).
Conifer Habitats (see sample below) show panoramic landscape photographs of typical conifer habitats of the region, with the location of the photo, the conifers present, and the most typical or dominant nonconiferous associated taxa, here listed by scientific names. These photos are intended to highlight the most important associations and/or landscape formations in which the region’s conifers occur.
Full-page taxon profiles (see samples below) are the backbone of each regional chapter. The text describes the location where the taxon occurs, including elevational range, distinguishing characteristics, description of typical habitat and associated taxa; historical or cultural notes and data for champion or exceptional trees where pertinent and space permitting. The morphological description provides a concise technical description of the most important characters: habit, foliage, and cones, the last including seed description/size where pertinent. The photographs (with few exceptions) include a large habit photo, occasionally with insets, and smaller photos showing closeups of foliage and cones. In the few cases where the bark is particularly important for identification, a bark photo is also included here; otherwise, bark photos are grouped separately in the back matter (see Bark Gallery in the menu).