Merriam life zones

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at
Thu Sep 6 14:12:57 EDT 2001

Maybe that is true, but that still is no reason to ignore the concept as if
it doesn't exist. Ignoring the concept has resulted in an obvious ignorance
in many many people as to why some species do or do not range occur in a
given area.

Here is perhaps a very good example. Anyone who has lived in the northeast
has heard about "Water Moccasins" swimming in the swamps and waters of
southern New England. Just last Monday there was a very large Northern Water
Snake lying with a large catfish in its mouth by the water's edge at the
Ashley Reservoir, Holyoke, MA. I got asked by at least 6 people as to
whether it was a moccasin or whether it had venom. How easy it would be to
understand that the Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a snake of the
Lower Austral Zone (an examination of the species range reveals this fact)
and that as such it could opt possibly be found in the north (unless someone
would be dumb enough to introduce them). In 20 years living in New England I
have had to inform numerous people of this fact, including fisherman,
hunters, people who routinely hike, etc.  I once had to inform a local park
ranger and several times have informed individuals involved in conservation
up here that, don't worry,  they are not found here.

I'm sorry but I would have to expect people to be more knowledgeable. 

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Kenelm Philip [SMTP:fnkwp at]
> Sent:	Wednesday, September 05, 2001 4:37 PM
> To:	leps-l at
> Subject:	Merriam life zones
> 	There is a reason why the Merriam life zones that Klots made such
> good use of are not being mentioned as much these days. The basic concept
> of 'climax vegetation' is no longer so firmly in place as it once was,
> and Merriam's zones do not play a major role in modern ecology. The
> situation appears to be a bit more complex...
> 							Ken Philip
> fnkwp at
>  ------------------------------------------------------------ 
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