Reflecting new thinking about conservation in Southeast Asia, Beyond the Sacred Forest is the product of a unique, decade-long, interdisciplinary collaboration involving research in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Scholars from these countries and the United States rethink the translation of environmental concepts between East and West, particularly ideas of nature and culture; the meaning of conservation; and the ways that conservation policy is applied and transformed in the everyday landscapes of Southeast Asia. The contributors focus more on folk, community, and vernacular conservation discourses than on those of formal institutions and the state. They reject the notion that conservation only takes place in bounded, static, otherworldly spaces such as protected areas or sacred forests. Thick with ethnographic detail, their essays move beyond the forest to agriculture and other land uses, leave behind orthodox notions of the sacred, discard outdated ideas of environmental harmony and stasis, and reject views of the environment that seek to avoid or escape politics. Natural-resource managers and policymakers who work with this more complicated vision of nature and culture are likely to enjoy more enduring success than those who simply seek to remove the influence and impact of humans from conserved landscapes. As many of the essays suggest, this requires the ability to manage contradictions, to relinquish orthodox ideas of what conservation looks like, and to practice continuously adaptive management techniques.
Contributors. Upik Djalins, Amity A. Doolittle, Michael R. Dove, Levita Duhaylungsod, Emily E. Harwell, Jeyamalar Kathirithamby-Wells, Lye Tuck-Po, Percy E. Sajise, Endah Sulistyawati, Yunita T. Winarto
Biodiversity and Human Health
Edited by Francesca Grifo and Joshua Rosenthal; Foreword by Thomas E. Lovejoy Island Press, 1997 Library of Congress RA565.A2B56 1997 | Dewey Decimal 610
The implications of biodiversity loss for the global environment have been widely discussed, but only recently has attention been paid to its direct and serious effects on human health. Biodiversity loss affects the spread of human diseases, causes a loss of medical models, diminishes the supplies of raw materials for drug discovery and biotechnology, and threatens food production and water quality.Biodiversity and Human Health brings together leading thinkers on the global environment and biomedicine to explore the human health consequences of the loss of biological diversity. Based on a two-day conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution, the book opens a dialogue among experts from the fields of public health, biology, epidemiology, botany, ecology, demography, and pharmacology on this vital but often neglected concern.Contributors discuss the uses and significance of biodiversity to the practice of medicine today, and develop strategies for conservation of these critical resources. Topics examined include: the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss emerging infectious diseases and the loss of biodiversity the significance and use of both prescription and herbal biodiversity-derived remedies indigenous and local peoples and their health care systems sustainable use of biodiversity for medicine an agenda for the future In addition to the editors, contributors include Anthony Artuso, Byron Bailey, Jensa Bell, Bhaswati Bhattacharya, Michael Boyd, Mary S. Campbell, Eric Chivian, Paul Cox, Gordon Cragg, Andrew Dobson, Kate Duffy-Mazan, Robert Engelman, Paul Epstein, Alexandra S. Fairfield, John Grupenhoff, Daniel Janzen, Catherine A. Laughin, Katy Moran, Robert McCaleb, Thomas Mays, David Newman, Charles Peters, Walter Reid, and John Vandermeer.The book provides a common framework for physicians and biomedical researchers who wish to learn more about environmental concerns, and for members of the environmental community who desire a greater understanding of biomedical issues.
Biodiversity and the Law
Edited by William J. Snape III Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress K3488.B563 1996 | Dewey Decimal 346.04695
Biodiversity and the Law is a timely and provocative volume that combines historical perspective and cutting-edge legal analysis in an authoritative and broad discussion of biodiversity and the law. Leading legal and policy experts consider a variety of options for the worldwide protection of biodiversity and present a succinct but comprehensive overview of the legal mechanisms available. They examine how conservation advocates can better utilize existing law, and consider what new law is needed.Among the topics considered are: scientific and policy foundations of biodiveristy protection domestic efforts to establish an effective endangered species protection regime international biodiversity protection biodiversity as a genuinely public entity the future of biodiversity law Contributors include Mollie Beattie, Don Waller, Jason Patlis, Lindell Marsh, Todd Olson, Peter Jenkins, Suzanne Iudicello, John Pendergrass, Dinah Bear, Walter Kuhlmann, Rodger Schlickeisen, David Downes, and others.
Biodiversity Change and Human Health brings together leading experts from the natural science and social science realms as well as the medical community to explore the explicit linkages between human-driven alterations of biodiversity and documented impacts of those changes on human health. The book utilizes multidisciplinary approaches to explore and address the complex interplay between natural biodiversity and human health and well-being. The five parts examine
health trade-offs between competing uses of biodiversity (highlighting synergistic situations in which conservation of natural biodiversity actually promotes human health and well-being);
relationships between biodiversity and quality of life that have developed over ecological and evolutionary time;
the effects of changing biodiversity on provisioning of ecosystem services, and how they have affected human health; the role of biodiversity in the spread of infectious disease;
native biodiversity as a resource for traditional and modern medicine
Biodiversity Change and Human Health synthesizes our current understanding and identifies major gaps in knowledge as it places all aspects of biodiversity and health interactions within a common framework. Contributors explore potential points of crossover among disciplines (both in ways of thinking and of specific methodologies) that could ultimately expand opportunities for humans to both live sustainably and enjoy a desirable quality of life.
Life on earth is characterized by three striking phenomena that demand explanation: adaptation—the marvelous fit between organism and environment; diversity—the great variety of organisms; and complexity—the enormous intricacy of their internal structure. Natural selection explains adaptation. But what explains diversity and complexity? Daniel W. McShea and Robert N. Brandon argue that there exists in evolution a spontaneous tendency toward increased diversity and complexity, one that acts whether natural selection is present or not. They call this tendency a biological law—the Zero-Force Evolutionary Law, or ZFEL. This law unifies the principles and data of biology under a single framework and invites a reconceptualization of the field of the same sort that Newton’s First Law brought to physics.
Biology’s First Law shows how the ZFEL can be applied to the study of diversity and complexity and examines its wider implications for biology. Intended for evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, and other scientists studying complex systems, and written in a concise and engaging format that speaks to students and interdisciplinary practitioners alike, this book will also find an appreciative audience in the philosophy of science.
We live in an age in which we are repeatedly reminded—by scientists, by the media, by popular culture—of the looming threat of mass extinction. We’re told that human activity is currently producing a sixth mass extinction, perhaps of even greater magnitude than the five previous geological catastrophes that drastically altered life on Earth. Indeed, there is a very real concern that the human species may itself be poised to go the way of the dinosaurs, victims of the most recent mass extinction some 65 million years ago.
How we interpret the causes, consequences, and moral imperatives of extinction is deeply embedded in the cultural values of any given historical moment. And as David Sepkoski reveals, the history of scientific ideas about extinction over the past two hundred years—as both a past and current process—are implicated in major changes in the way Western society has approached biological and cultural diversity. It seems self-evident to most of us that diverse ecosystems and societies are intrinsically valuable, but the current fascination with diversity is a relatively recent phenomenon. In fact, the way we value diversity depends crucially on our sense that it is precarious—that it is something actively threatened, and that its loss could have profound consequences. In Catastrophic Thinking, Sepkoski uncovers how and why we learned to value diversity as a precious resource at the same time as we learned to think catastrophically about extinction.
Seed and gene banks have made great strides in preserving the biological diversity of traditional agricultural plant species, but they have tended to ignore a serious component: the knowledge about those crops and methods of farming held by the people who have long raised them. Virginia Nazarea now makes a case for preserving cultural memory along with biodiversity. By exploring how indigenous people farm sweet potatoes in Bukidnon, Philippines, she discovers specific ways in which the conservation of genetic resources and the conservation of culture can support each other. Interweaving a wealth of ecological and cognitive data with oral history, Nazarea details a "memory banking" protocol for collecting and conserving cultural information to complement the genetic, agronomic, and biochemical characterization of important crops. She shows that memory banking offers significant benefits for local populations—not only the preservation of traditional knowledge but also the maintenance of alternatives to large-scale agricultural development and commercialization. She also compares alternative forms of germplasm conservation conducted by a male-dominated hierarchy with those of an informal network of migrant women. Cultural Memory and Biodiversity establishes valuable guidelines for people who aspire to support community-based in situ conservation of local varieties. Perhaps more important, it shows that the traditional methods of local farmers are often as important as the "advanced" methods encouraged by advocates of modernization.
Ecological Design is a landmark volume that helped usher in an exciting new era in green design and sustainability planning. Since its initial publication in 1996, the book has been critically important in sparking dialogue and triggering collaboration across spatial scales and design professions in pursuit of buildings, products, and landscapes with radically decreased environmental impacts. This 10th anniversary edition makes the work available to a new generation of practitioners and thinkers concerned with moving our society onto a more sustainable path.
Using examples from architecture, industrial ecology, sustainable agriculture, ecological wastewater treatment, and many other fields, Ecological Design provides a framework for integrating human design with living systems. Drawing on complex systems, ecology, and early examples of green building and design, the book challenges us to go further, creating buildings, infrastructures, and landscapes that are truly restorative rather than merely diminishing the rate at which things are getting worse.
Designed by a partnership of UN agencies, international scientific organizations, and development agencies, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is the most extensive study ever of the linkages between the world’s ecosystems and human well-being. The goal of the MA is to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the contribution of ecosystems to human well-being without undermining their long-term productivity. With contributions by more than 500 scientists from 70 countries, the MA has proven to be one of the most important conservation initiatives ever undertaken, and the ecosystem services paradigm on which it is based provides the standard for practice. This manual supplies the specific tools that practitioners of the paradigm need in order to extend their work into the future.
The manual is a stand-alone “how to” guide to conducting assessments of the impacts on humans of ecosystem changes. In addition, assessment practitioners who are looking for guidance on particular aspects of the assessment process will find individual chapters of this manual to be useful in advancing their understanding of best practices in ecosystem assessment. The manual builds on the experiences and lessons learned from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment global and sub-global assessment initiatives, with chapters written by well-known participants in those initiatives. It also includes insights and experiences gained from a wider range of ecosystem service-focused assessment activities since the completion of the MA in 2005.
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any comparable period of human history. We have done this to meet the growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel. While changes to ecosystems have enhanced the well-being of billions of people, they have also caused a substantial and largely irreversible loss in diversity of life on Earth, and have strained the capacity of ecosystems to continue providing critical services.
Among the findings:
Approximately 60% of the services that support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably. The harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years.
Only four ecosystem services have been enhanced in the last 50 years: crops, livestock, aquaculture, and the sequestration of carbon.
The capacity of ecosystems to neutralize pollutants, protect us from natural disasters, and control the outbreaks of pests and diseases is declining significantly.
Terrestrial and freshwater systems are reaching the limits of their ability to absorb nitrogen.
Harvesting of fish and other resources from coastal and marine systems is compromising their ability to deliver food in the future.
Richly illustrated with maps and graphs, Current State and Trends presents an assessment of Earth's ability to provide twenty-four distinct services essential to human well-being. These include food, fiber, and other materials; the regulation of the climate and fresh water systems; underlying support systems such as nutrient cycling; and the fulfillment of cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic values. The volume pays particular attention to the current health of key ecosystems, including inland waters, forests, oceans, croplands, and dryland systems, among others. It will be an indispensable reference for scientists, environmentalists, agency professionals, and students.
One of the major innovations of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is the incorporation of local and regional assessmentsù33 in allùin a global portrait of the planetÆs health. It is the first global assessment of ecosystems to include not only a diversity of ecosystems, but to draw on a wide range of cultural orientations and intellectual traditions, including those of indigenous peoples.
The Sub-global Assessments Working Group integrated information from multiple sources and found that biophysical factors such as land-use change, climate change and variability, pollution, and invasive species have a significant effect on human well-being across cultures. For example, in places where there are no other social safety nets, diminished human well-being tends to increase immediate dependence on ecosystem services, which can damage the capacity of those local ecosystems, which in turn appears to increase the probability of natural disaster or conflict.
Representing the baseline and framework for ongoing assessments of ecosystem and human well-being on a variety of scales around the world, Multiscale Assessments provides students, researchers, and policy-makers with the most comprehensive methodology for assessing ecosystems at local, national, and regional scales.
Scenarios are an invaluable tool for analyzing complex systems and understanding possible outcomes. This second volume of the MA series explores the implications of four different approaches for managing ecosystem services in the face of growing human demand for them:
The Global Orchestration approach, in which we emphasize equity, economic growth, and public goods, reacting to ecosystem problems when they reach critical stages.
Order from Strength, which emphasizes security and economic growth.
Adapting Mosaic, which emphasizes proactive management of ecosystems, local adaptation, and flexible governance.
TechnoGarden, a globalized approach with an emphasis on green technology and a proactive approach to managing ecosystems.
The Scenarios volume will help decision-makers and managers identify development paths that better maintain the resilience of ecosystems, and can reduce the risk of damage to human well-being and the environment.
Scientists and policymakers must work together if solutions to the biodiversity crisis are to be found. Yet all too often, scientific data are unknown or incomprehensible to policymakers, and political realities are not fully appreciated by scientists.Environmental Policy and Biodiversity addresses that problem by presenting both an overview of important concepts in the field of conservation biology and an examination of the strengths and limitations of the policymaking process. Topics covered include: the ethical and scientific bases of conservation biology the effectiveness of existing environmental policy in protecting biodiversity case studies from California, the Great Lakes region, southern Appalachia, and the Florida panhandle an examination of overall environmental policy goals and processes Featuring provocative and clearly argued essays from a range of disciplines, Environmental Policy and Biodiversity provides resource professionals with valuable insight into conservation issues, and can serve as a useful tool in both graduate and undergraduate courses in conservation biology and environmental policy.
Life on earth is wildly diverse, but the future of that diversity is now in question. Through environmentally destructive farming practices, ever-expanding energy use, and the development and homogenization of land, human beings are responsible for unprecedented reductions in the variety of life forms around us. Estimates suggest that species extinctions caused by humans occur at up to 1,000 times the natural rate, and that one of every twenty species on the planet could be eradicated by 2060.
An Ethics of Biodiversity argues that these facts should inspire careful reflection and action in Christian churches, which must learn from earth’s vast diversity in order to help conserve the natural and social diversity of our planet. Bringing scientific data into conversation with theological tradition, the book shows that biodiversity is a point of intersection between faith and ethics, social justice and environmentalism, science and politics, global problems and local solutions. An Ethics of Biodiversity offers a set of tools for students, environmentalists, and people of faith to think critically about how human beings can live with and as part of the variety of life in God’s creation.
Ethnobiology holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many because of its dedication to celebrating the knowledge and values of some of the most distinctive cultural practices in some of the most distinctive places on Earth. Yet we live in a world of diminishing natural and linguistic diversity. Whether due to climate change or capitalism, homogeneity is trumping the once-resplendent heterogeneity all around us.
In this important new collection, Gary Paul Nabhan puts forth a call for the future not only of ethnobiology but for the entire planet. He articulates and broadens the portfolio of ethnobiological principles and amplifies the tool kit for anyone engaged in the ethnobiosphere, those vital spaces of intense interaction among cultures, habitats, and creatures.
The essays are grouped into a trio of themes. The first group presents the big questions facing humanity, the second profiles tools and methodologies that may help to answer those questions, and the third ponders how to best communicate these issues not merely to other scholars, but to society at large. The essays attest to the ways humans establish and circumscribe their identities not only through their thoughts and actions, but also with their physical, emotional, and spiritual attachments to place, flora, fauna, fungi, and feasts.
Nabhan and his colleagues from across disciplines and cultures encourage us to be courageous enough to include ethical, moral, and even spiritual dimensions in work regarding the fate of biocultural diversity. The essays serve as cairns on the critical path toward an ethnobiology that is provocative, problem-driven, and, above all, inspiring.
"While tropical forests are being cleared at an alarming rate, the clearing is rarely complete and is often not permanent. A considerable amount of tropical forest exists as remnants that have significant value both for the conservation of biological diversity and for meeting the needs of local people.This volume brings together world-renowned scientists and conservationists to address the biological and socio-economic value of forest remnants and to examine practical efforts to conserve those remnants. An outgrowth of a year-long study by the policy program at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Forest Patches in Tropical Landscapes provides a broad overview of theory and practice, and will help foster both interdisciplinary research and more effective approaches to tropical conservation and development.
The Forgotten Pollinators
Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan Island Press, 1996 Library of Congress QK926.B835 1996 | Dewey Decimal 574.524
Consider this: Without interaction between animals and flowering plants, the seeds and fruits that make up nearly eighty percent of the human diet would not exist.In The Forgotten Pollinators, Stephen L. Buchmann, one of the world's leading authorities on bees and pollination, and Gary Paul Nabhan, award-winning writer and renowned crop ecologist, explore the vital but little-appreciated relationship between plants and the animals they depend on for reproduction -- bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, bats, and countless other animals, some widely recognized and other almost unknown.Scenes from around the globe -- examining island flora and fauna on the Galapagos, counting bees in the Panamanian rain forest, witnessing an ancient honey-hunting ritual in Malaysia -- bring to life the hidden relationships between plants and animals, and demonstrate the ways in which human society affects and is affected by those relationships. Buchmann and Nabhan combine vignettes from the field with expository discussions of ecology, botany, and crop science to present a lively and fascinating account of the ecological and cultural context of plant-pollinator relationships.More than any other natural process, plant-pollinator relationships offer vivid examples of the connections between endangered species and threatened habitats. The authors explain how human-induced changes in pollinator populations -- caused by overuse of chemical pesticides, unbridled development, and conversion of natural areas into monocultural cropland-can have a ripple effect on disparate species, ultimately leading to a "cascade of linked extinctions."
Biodiversity is as close as your breakfast table. Your cereal and coffee are the products of at least a dozen species of plants and animals. And believe it or not, you are related to your morning meal—all life on earth is descended from a common ancestor, giving new meaning to the old saying “You are what you eat.”
Making clear why the future of biodiversity matters, Fragile Web—which takes its name from the delicate mechanism that holds all life together—unites a team of international experts to explore the wonder of the natural world. Drawing on the very latest research, the book explains what biodiversity is and explores its evolution, from 3.5 billion years ago to the present day. It discusses the importance of the world’s ecosystems and how directly or indirectly humans are responsible for the fate of nature. Crucially, it also examines what can be done to protect the natural world and why it matters. Although we cannot undo all that we have done, ignoring the current crisis facing biodiversity could fundamentally change the lives of future generations.
Fully illustrated with color photographs, diagrams, and maps, and edited by celebrated ecologist Jonathan Silvertown, this book is a timely snapshot of the state of life on Earth. From the plant and animal products that make up our breakfast to the ecosystems that help to produce clean water, our very survival depends upon the variety of plant and animal life on our planet. The year 2010 has been declared by the United Nations the International Year of Biodiversity, and The Fragile Web will be an essential guidebook for our time.
Few places in the world can claim such a diversity of species as the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), with its 6,000 recorded animal species estimated to be half the number actually living in its waters. So rich are the Gulf's water that over a half-million tons of seafood are taken from them annually—and this figure does not count the wasted by-catch, which would triple or quadruple that tonnage. This timely book provides a benchmark for understanding the Gulf's extraordinary diversity, how it is threatened, and in what ways it is—or should be—protected.
In spite of its dazzling richness, most of the Gulf's coastline now harbors but a pale shadow of the diversity that existed just a half-century ago. Recommendations based on sound, careful science must guide Mexico in moving forward to protect the Gulf of California.
This edited volume contains contributions by twenty-four Gulf of California experts, from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. From the origins of the Gulf to its physical and chemical characteristics, from urgently needed conservation alternatives for fisheries and the entire Gulf ecosystem to information about its invertebrates, fishes, cetaceans, and sea turtles, this thought-provoking book provides new insights and clear paths to achieve sustainable use solidly based on robust science. The interdisciplinary, international cooperation involved in creating this much-needed collection provides a model for achieving success in answering critically important questions about a precious but rapidly disappearing ecological treasure.
Blue jeans, MTV, Coca-Cola, and… ecology? We don't often think of conservation sciences as a U.S. export, but in the second half of the twentieth century an astounding array of scientists and ideas flowed out from the United States into the world, preaching the gospel of conservation-oriented ecology.
Inventing Global Ecology grapples with how we should understand the development of global ecology in the twentieth century—a science that is held responsible for, literally, saving the world. Is the spread of ecology throughout the globe a subtle form of cultural imperialism, as some claim? Or is it a manifestation of an increasingly globalized world, where ideas, people, and things move about with greater freedom than ever before?
Using India as the case study, Professor Michael Lewis considers the development of conservation policies and conservation sciences since the end of World War II and the role of United States scientists, ideas, and institutions in this process. Was India subject to a subtle form of Americanization, or did Indian ecologists develop their own agenda, their own science, and their own way of understanding (and saving) the natural world? Does nationality even matter when doing ecology?
This readable narrative will carry you through the first fifty years of independent India, from the meadows of the Himalayan Mountains to the rainforests of southern India, from Gandhi and Nehru to Project Tiger. Of equal interest to the general reader, to scientists, and to scholars of history and globalization, Inventing Global Ecology combines ethnographic fieldwork and oral history conducted in India and the United States, as well as traditional archival research.
Landscape Linkages and Biodiversity
Edited by Wendy Hudson; Foreword by M. Rupert Cutler; Defenders of Wildlife Island Press, 1991 Library of Congress QH75.L28 1991 | Dewey Decimal 333.9516
In Landscape Linkages and Biodiversity experts explain biological diversity conservation, focusing on the need for protecting large areas of the most diverse ecosystems, and connecting those ecosystems with land corridors to allow species to move among them more easily.
Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity brings together more than thirty leading scientists and conservation practitioners to consider a key question in environmental conservation: Is the conservation of large carnivores in ecosystems that evolved with their presence equivalent to the conservation of biological diversity within those systems? Building their discussions from empirical, long-term data sets, contributors including James A. Estes, David S. Maehr, Tim McClanahan, AndrFs J. Novaro, John Terborgh, and Rosie Woodroffe explore a variety of issues surrounding the link between predation and biodiversity: What is the evidence for or against the link? Is it stronger in marine systems? What are the implications for conservation strategies?
Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity is the first detailed, broad-scale examination of the empirical evidence regarding the role of large carnivores in biodiversity conservation in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It contributes to a much more precise and global understanding of when, where, and whether protecting and restoring top predators will directly contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Everyone concerned with ecology, biodiversity, or large carnivores will find this volume a unique and thought-provoking analysis and synthesis.
When Richard Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971, eighty million acres were flagged as possible national park land. Field expeditions were tasked with recording what was contained in these vast acres. Under this decree, five men were sent into the sprawling, roadless interior of Alaska, unsure of what they’d encounter and ultimately responsible for the fate of four thousand pristine acres. Life and Times of a Big River follows Peter J. Marchand and his team of biologists as they set out to explore the land that would ultimately become the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Their encounters with strange plants, rare insects, and little-known mammals bring to life a land once thought to be static and monotonous. And their struggles to navigate and adapt to an unforgiving environment capture the rigorous demands of remote field work. Weaving in and out of Marchand's narrative is an account of the natural and cultural history of the area as it relates to the expedition and the region’s Native peoples. Life and Times of a Big River chorincles this riveting, one-of-a-kind journey of uncertainty and discovery from a disparate (and at one point desperate) group of biologists.
From a small island in the Baltic Sea to the large tropical islands of Borneo and Madagascar, Messages from Islands is a global tour of these natural, water-bound laboratories. In this career-spanning work, Ilkka Hanski draws upon the many islands on which he performed fieldwork to convey key themes in ecology. By exploring the islands’ biodiversity as an introduction to general issues, Hanski helps us to learn how species and communities interact in fragmented landscapes, how evolution generates biodiversity, and how this biodiversity is maintained over time.
Beginning each chapter on a particular island, Hanski dives into reflections on his own field studies before going on to pursue a variety of ecological questions, including: What is the biodiversity crisis? What are extinction thresholds and extinction debts? What can the biodiversity hypothesis tell us about rapidly increasing allergies, asthma, and other chronic inflammatory disorders? The world’s largest island, Greenland, for instance, is the starting point for a journey into the benefits that humankind acquires from biodiversity, including the staggering biodiversity of microbes in the ecosystems that are closest to us—the ecosystems in our guts, in our respiratory tracts, and under our skin. Conceptually oriented but grounded in an adventurous personal narrative, Messages from Islands is a landmark work that lifts the natural mysteries of islands from the sea, bringing to light the thrilling complexities and connections of ecosystems worldwide.
All living things on earth—from individual species to entire ecosystems—have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives.
Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution—the history of organisms—is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats.
The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.
This timely collection of 15 original essays written by expert scientists the world over addresses the relationships between human population growth, the need to increase food supplies to feed the world population, and the chances for avoiding the extinction of a major proportion of the world's plant and animal species that collectively makes our survival on Earth possible. These relationships are highly intertwined, and changes in each of them steadily decrease humankind’s chances to achieve environmental stability on our fragile planet.
The world population is projected to be nine to ten billion by 2050, signaling the need to increase world food production by more than 70 percent on the same amount of land currently under production—and this without further damaging our fragile environment. The essays in this collection, written by experts for laypersons, present the problems we face with clarity and assess our prospects for solving them, calling for action but holding out viable solutions.
Over the past two decades, a select group of small but highly effective grassroots organizations have achieved remarkable success in protecting endangered species and forests in the United States. The Rebirth of Environmentalism tells for the first time the story of these grassroots biodiversity groups.
Author Douglas Bevington offers engaging case studies of three of the most influential biodiversity protection campaigns—the Headwaters Forest campaign, the “zero cut” campaign on national forests, and the endangered species litigation campaign exemplified by the Center for Biological Diversity—providing the reader with an in-depth understanding of the experience of being involved in grassroots activism.
Based on first-person interviews with key activists in these campaigns, the author explores the role of tactics, strategy, funding, organization, movement culture, and political conditions in shaping the influence of the groups. He also examines the challenging relationship between radicals and moderate groups within the environmental movement, and addresses how grassroots organizations were able to overcome constraints that had limited the advocacy of other environmental organizations.
Filled with inspiring stories of activists, groups, and campaigns that most readers will not have encountered before, The Rebirth of Environmentalism explores how grassroots biodiversity groups have had such a big impact despite their scant resources, and presents valuable lessons that can help the environmental movement as a whole—as well as other social movements—become more effective.
Written by two leading conservation biologists, Saving Nature's Legacy is a thorough and readable introduction to issues of land management and conservation biology. It presents a broad, land-based approach to biodiversity conservation in the United States, with the authors succinctly translating principles, techniques, and findings of the ecological sciences into an accessible and practical plan for action.After laying the groundwork for biodiversity conservation -- what biodiversity is, why it is important, its status in North America -- Noss and Cooperrider consider the strengths and limitations of past and current approaches to land management. They then present the framework for a bold new strategy, with explicit guidelines on: inventorying biodiversityselecting areas for protection designing regional and continental reserve networks establishing monitoring programssetting priorities for getting the job done Throughout the volume, the authors provide in-depth assessments of what must be done to protect and restore the full spectrum of native biodiversity to the North American continent.
A holistic approach to analyzing distinct grassland habitats that integrates ecological, historical, and archaeological data
Today the southeastern United States is a largely rural, forested, and agricultural landscape interspersed with urban areas of development. However, two centuries ago it contained hundreds of thousands of acres of natural grasslands that stretched from Florida to Texas. Now more than 99 percent of these prairies, glades, and savannas have been plowed up or paved over, lost to agriculture, urban growth, and cattle ranching. The few remaining grassland sites are complex ecosystems, home to hundreds of distinct plant and animal species, and worthy of study.
Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management brings together the latest research on southeastern prairie systems and species, provides a complete picture of an increasingly rare biome, and offers solutions to many conservation biology queries. Editors JoVonn G. Hill and John A. Barone have gathered renowned experts in their fields from across the region who address questions related to the diversity, ecology, and management of southeastern grasslands, along with discussions of how to restore sites that have been damaged by human activity.
Over the last twenty years, both researchers and the public have become more interested in the grasslands of the Southeast. This volume builds on the growing knowledge base of these remarkable ecosystems with the goal of increasing appreciation for them and stimulating further study of their biota and ecology. Topics such as the historical distribution of grasslands in the South, the plants and animals that inhabit them, as well as assessments of several techniques used in their conservation and management are covered in-depth. Written with a broad audience in mind, this book will serve as a valuable introduction and reference for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and land managers.
Southern Wonder explores Alabama’s amazing biological diversity, the reasons for the large number of species in the state, and the importance of their preservation.
Alabama ranks fifth in the nation in number of species of plants and animals found in the state, surpassed only by the much larger western states of California,Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. When all the species of birds, trees, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, wildflowers, dragonflies, tiger beetles, and ants are tallied, Alabama harbors more species than 90 percent of the other states in the United States. Alabamais particularly rich in aquatic biodiversity, leading the nation in species of freshwater fishes, turtles, mussels, crayfish, snails, damselflies, and carnivorous plants. The state also hosts an exceptional number of endemic species—those not found beyond its borders—ranking seventh in the nation with 144 species. The state’s 4,533 species, with more being inventoried and discovered each year, are supported by no less than 64 distinct ecological systems—each a unique blend of soil, water, sunlight, heat, and natural disturbance regimes. Habitats include dry forests, moist forests, swamp forests, sunny prairies, grassy barrens, scorching glades, rolling dunes, and bogs filled with pitcher plants and sundews. The state also includes a region of subterranean ecosystems that are more elaborate and species rich than any other place on the continent.
Although Alabama is teeming with life, the state’s prominence as a refuge for plants and animals is poorly appreciated. Even among Alabama’s citizens, few outside a small circle of biologists, advocates, and other naturalists understand the special quality of the state’s natural heritage. R. Scot Duncan rectifies this situation in Southern Wonder by providing a well-written, comprehensive overview that the general public, policy makers, and teachers can understand and use. Readers are taken on an exploratory journey of the state’s varied landscapes—from the Tennessee River Valley to the coastal dunes—and are introduced to remarkable species, such as the cave salamander and the beach mouse. By interweaving the disciplines of ecology, evolution, meteorology, and geology into an accessible whole, Duncan explains clearly why Alabama is so biotically rich and champions efforts for its careful preservation.
Published in Cooperation with The Nature Conservancy
Are humans too good at adapting to the earth’s natural environment? Every day, there is a net gain of more than 200,000 people on the planet—that’s 146 a minute. Has our explosive population growth led to the mass extinction of countless species in the earth’s plant and animal communities?
Jeffrey K. McKee contends yes. The more people there are, the more we push aside wild plants and animals. In Sparing Nature, he explores the cause-and-effect relationship between these two trends, demonstrating that nature is too sparing to accommodate both a richly diverse living world and a rapidly expanding number of people. The author probes the past to find that humans and their ancestors have had negative impacts on species biodiversity for nearly two million years, and that extinction rates have accelerated since the origins of agriculture. Today entire ecosystems are in peril due to the relentless growth of the human population. McKee gives a guided tour of the interconnections within the living world to reveal the meaning and value of biodiversity, making the maze of technical research and scientific debates accessible to the general reader. Because it is clear that conservation cannot be left to the whims of changing human priorities, McKee takes the unabashedly neo-Malthusian position that the most effective measure to save earth’s biodiversity is to slow the growth of human populations. By conscientiously becoming more responsible about our reproductive habits and our impact on other living beings, we can ensure that nature’s services will make our lives not only supportable, but also sustainable for this century and beyond.
Sustaining Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Soils and Sediments brings together the world's leading ecologists, systematists, and evolutionary biologists to present scientific information that integrates soil and sediment disciplines across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. It offers a framework for a new discipline, one that will allow future scientists to consider the linkages of biodiversity below-surface, and how biota interact to provide the essential ecosystemservices needed for sustainable soils and sediments.
Contributors consider key-questions regarding soils and sediments and the relationship between soil- and sediment- dwelling organisms and overall ecosystem functioning. The book is an important new synthesis for scientists and researchers studying a range of topics, including global sustainability, conservation biology, taxonomy, erosion, extreme systems, food production, and related fields. In addition, it provides new insight and understanding for managers, policymakers, and others concerned with global environmental sustainability and global change issues.
Only a day's drive south of the U.S.-Mexico border, a tropical deciduous forest opens up a world of exotic trees and birds that most people associate with tropical forests of more southerly latitudes. Like many such forests around the world, this diverse ecosystem is highly threatened, especially by large-scale agricultural interests that are razing it in order to plant grass for cattle.
This book introduces the tropical deciduous forest of the Alamos region of Sonora, describing its biodiversity and the current threats to its existence. The book's contributors present the most up-to-date scientific knowledge of this threatened ecosystem. They review the natural history and ecology of its flora and fauna and explore how native peoples use the forest's many resources.
Included in the book's coverage is a comprehensive plant list for the Río Cuchujaqui area that well illustrates the diversity of the forest. Other contributions examine tree species used by Mayo Indians and the numerous varieties of domesticated plants that have been developed over the centuries by the Mayos and other indigenous peoples. Also examined are the diversity and distribution of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds in the region.
The Tropical Deciduous Forest of Alamos provides critical information about a globally important biome. It complements other studies of similar forests and allows a better understanding of a diverse but vanishing ecosystem.
Straddling temperate forests and grassland biomes and stretching along the coastline of two Great Lakes, Wisconsin contains tallgrass prairie and oak savanna, broadleaf and coniferous forests, wetlands, natural lakes, and rivers. But, like the rest of the world, the Badger State has been transformed by urbanization and sprawl, population growth, and land-use change. For decades, industry and environment have attempted to coexist in Wisconsin—and the dynamic tensions between economic progress and environmental protection makes the state a fascinating microcosm for studying global environmental change. The Vanishing Present brings together a distinguished set of contributors—including scientists, naturalists, and policy experts—to examine how human pressures on Wisconsin’s changing lands, waters, and wildlife have redefined the state’s ecology. Though they focus on just one state, the authors draw conclusions about changes in temperate habitats that can be applied elsewhere, and offer useful insights into future of the ecology, conservation, and sustainability of Wisconsin and beyond.
A fitting tribute to the home state of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, The Vanishing Present is an accessible and timely case study of a significant ecosystem and its response to environmental change.
What Is Biodiversity?
James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress QH541.15.B56M325 2008 | Dewey Decimal 333.95
In the life sciences, there is wide-ranging debate about biodiversity. While nearly everyone is in favor of biodiversity and its conservation, methods for its assessment vary enormously. So what exactly is biodiversity? Most theoretical work on the subject assumes it has something to do with species richness—with the number of species in a particular region—but in reality, it is much more than that. Arguing that we cannot make rational decisions about what it is to be protected without knowing what biodiversity is, James Maclaurin and Kim Sterelny offer in What Is Biodiversity? a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued.
Here, Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and Sterelny also explore the case for the conservation of these biodiversities using option value theory, a tool borrowed from economics.
An erudite, provocative, timely, and creative attempt to answer a fundamental question, What Is Biodiversity? will become a foundational text in the life sciences and studies thereof.
Animals such as wolves, sea otters, and sharks exert a disproportionate influence on their environment; dramatic ecological consequences can result when they are removed from—or returned to—an ecosystem.
In The Wolf's Tooth, scientist and author Cristina Eisenberg explores the concept of "trophic cascades" and the role of top predators in regulating ecosystems. Her fascinating and wide-ranging work provides clear explanations of the science surrounding keystone predators and considers how this notion can help provide practical solutions for restoring ecosystem health and functioning.
Eisenberg examines both general concepts and specific issues, sharing accounts from her own fieldwork to illustrate and bring to life the ideas she presents. She considers how resource managers can use knowledge about trophic cascades to guide recovery efforts, including how this science can be applied to move forward the bold vision of rewilding the North American continent. In the end, the author provides her own recommendations for local and landscape-scale applications of what has been learned about interactive food webs.
At their most fundamental level, trophic cascades are powerful stories about ecosystem processes—of predators and their prey, of what it takes to survive in a landscape, of the flow of nutrients. The Wolf's Tooth is the first book to focus on the vital connection between trophic cascades and restoring biodiversity and habitats, and to do so in a way that is accessible to a diverse readership.
"We do not question that flesh and bone and leaf litter will decay to dust, that seeds will sprout season after season and find renewed nourishment in the soil, that rivers can flow endlessly without running dry, that we can breathe a lifetime without depleting the air of oxygen.... What humans have not fully appreciated until recently is that these services are the work of nature, performed by the rich diversity of microbes, plants, and animals on the earth." --from The Work of NatureThe lavish array of organisms known as "biodiversity" is an intricately linked web that makes the earth a uniquely habitable planet. Yet pressures from human activities are destroying biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. How many species can be lost before the ecological systems that nurture life begin to break down?In The Work of Nature, noted science writer Yvonne Baskin examines the threats posed to humans by the loss of biodiversity. She summarizes and explains key findings from the ecological sciences, highlighting examples from around the world where shifts in species have affected the provision of clean air, pure water, fertile soils, lush landscapes, and stable natural communities.As Baskin makes clear, biodiversity is much more than number of species -- it includes the complexity, richness, and abundance of nature at all levels, from the genes carried by local populations to the layout of communities and ecosystems across the landscape. Ecologists are increasingly aware that mankind's wanton destruction of living organisms -- the planet's work force -- threatens to erode our basic life support services. With uncommon grace and eloquence, Baskin demonstrates how and why that is so.Distilling and bringing to life the work of the world's leading ecologists, The Work of Nature is the first book of its kind to clearly explain the practical consequences of declining biodiversity on ecosystem health and function.
Twelve inches by twelve inches by twelve inches, the cubic foot is a relatively tiny unit of measure compared to the whole world. With every step, we disturb and move through cubic foot after cubic foot. But behold the cubic foot in nature—from coral reefs to cloud forests to tidal pools—even in that finite space you can see the multitude of creatures that make up a vibrant ecosystem.
For A World in One Cubic Foot, esteemed nature photographer David Liittschwager took a bright green metal cube—measuring precisely one cubic foot—and set it in various ecosystems around the world, from Costa Rica to Central Park. Working with local scientists, he measured what moved through that small space in a period of twenty-four hours. He then photographed the cube’s setting and the plant, animal, and insect life inside it—anything visible to the naked eye. The result is a stunning portrait of the amazing diversity that can be found in ecosystems around the globe. Many organisms captured in Liittschwager’s photographs have rarely, if ever, been presented in their full splendor to the general reader, and the singular beauty of these images evocatively conveys the richness of life around us and the essential need for its conservation. The breathtaking images are accompanied by equally engaging essays that speak to both the landscapes and the worlds contained within them, from distinguished contributors such as Elizabeth Kolbert and Alan Huffman, in addition to an introduction by E. O. Wilson. After encountering this book, you will never look at the tiniest sliver of your own backyard or neighborhood park the same way; instead, you will be stunned by the unexpected variety of species found in an area so small.
A World in One Cubic Foot puts the world accessibly in our hands and allows us to behold the magic of an ecosystem in miniature. Liittschwager’s awe-inspiring photographs take us to places both familiar and exotic and instill new awareness of the life that abounds all around.