The aquatic and terrestrial components of riparian systems provide ecological opportunities for many species of mammals. The importance of riparian habitat to wildlife populations has been documented in a wide range of habitats in North America: the midwestern United States (Stauffer and Best 1980), desert southwest (England et al. 1984), Rocky Mountains (Knopf 1985), Oregon (Anthony et al. 1987, Doyle 1990, McComb et al. 1993, Gomez and Anthony 1998, Kauffman et al. 2001), Washington (O'Connell et al. 1993, Kelsey and West 1998, Kauffman et al. 2001), and the Okanogan Highlands of British Columbia (Gyug 2000). These studies indicate that wildlife species richness is high in these ecosystems, and use of riparian zones by some species is disproportionately higher than in other areas. Although this is especially true in the more arid regions of North America (Johnson and Jones 1977, Brinson et al. 1981), this pattern can also be found in mesic forests of the Pacific Northwest. For example, Thomas et al. (1979) report that 285 of the 378 terrestrial wildlife species in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Washington are found exclusively or more commonly in riparian areas, and Oakley et al. (1985) report similar patterns of 359 of the 414 wildlife species using riparian zones of western Washington and Oregon forests. Kauffman et al. (2001) estimate that 53% of the 593 wildlife species that occur in Washington and Oregon use riparian zones, whereas riparian zones and wetlands constitute only 1% to 2% of the landscape.
Shakespeare's “romances,” the four plays written toward the close of his theatrical career, can be seen as his most experimental and, in some respects, his most daring theatrical ventures. They elude easy definition as comedy, tragedy, or history. Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest constitute in modern critical discourse a grouping of plays set off from the rest of his dramatic works. But what they share generically, and indeed what they are, may not be entirely self-evident. The first folio of 1623, which printed all of them but Pericles (added in the third folio of 1664), is no help. It placed The Tempest and The Winter's Tale among the comedies and Cymbeline among the tragedies. Clearly all are comedies in the formal sense in that they end not in death but in the happiness of reunions and/or promised marriages. Another generic term for them is “tragicomedy,” but this does not so much define them as simply describe the mixture of threatened tragedy and comic conclusion each contains. While historically the individual plays have been appreciated and performed – The Tempest in particular because of its apparent self-referentiality in seeming to relate Shakespeare's own art to Prospero's magic – earlier readers and audiences often found them, in terms of Shakespeare's career, an apparent falling off from the intensity and gravity of the great tragedies. It is, in fact, an accomplishment of twentieth-century criticism to have rediscovered the sophistication and seriousness of the four plays and to find fascination in their interrelatedness.
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