In 1962 the Green River was poisoned and its native fishes killed so that the new Flaming Gorge Reservoir could be stocked with non-native game fishes for sportsmen. This incident was representative of water management in the West, where dams and other projects have been built to serve human needs without consideration for the effects of water diversion or depletion on the ecosystem. Indeed, it took a Supreme Court decision in 1976 to save Devils Hole pupfish from habitat destruction at the hands of developers.
Nearly a third of the native fish fauna of North America lives in the arid West; this book traces their decline toward extinction as a result of human interference and the threat to their genetic diversity posed by decreases in their populations. What can be done to slow or end this tragedy? As the most comprehensive treatment ever attempted on the subject, Battle Against Extinction shows how conservation efforts have been or can be used to reverse these trends.
In covering fishes in arid lands west of the Mississippi Valley, the contributors provide a species-by-species appraisal of their status and potential for recovery, bringing together in one volume nearly all of the scattered literature on western fishes to produce a monumental work in conservation biology. They also ponder ethical considerations related to the issue, ask why conservation efforts have not proceeded at a proper pace, and suggest how native fish protection relates to other aspects of biodiversity planetwide. Their insights will allow scientific and public agencies to evaluate future management of these animal populations and will offer additional guidance for those active in water rights and conservation biology.
There is growing interest in re-connecting urban residents with nature, but most conservationists want to work in pristine areas, and most urban areas are considered too degraded to rank high on conservation priority lists. Bringing Conservation to Cities is a timely and informative exposé of what it takes to foster a conservation ethic in a major urban area—complete with critical lessons learned—and to simultaneously inspire and develop the next generation of urban conservationists. The book explores the new urban conservation frontier, with its numerous challenges and opportunities, and fosters more urban conservation initiatives throughout the world.
What would it be like to live in a world with no predators roaming our landscapes? Would their elimination, which humans have sought with ever greater urgency in recent times, bring about a pastoral, peaceful human civilization? Or in fact is their existence critical to our own, and do we need to be doing more to assure their health and the health of the landscapes they need to thrive?
In The Carnivore Way, Cristina Eisenberg argues compellingly for the necessity of top predators in large, undisturbed landscapes, and how a continental-long corridor—carnivore way—provides the room they need to roam and connected landscapes that allow them to disperse. Eisenberg follows the footsteps of six large carnivores—wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, jaguars, wolverines, and cougars—on a 7,500-mile wildlife corridor from Alaska to Mexico along the Rocky Mountains. Backed by robust science, she shows how their well-being is a critical factor in sustaining healthy landscapes and how it is possible for humans and large carnivores to coexist peacefully and even to thrive.
University students in natural resource science programs, resource managers, conservation organizations, and anyone curious about carnivore ecology and management in a changing world will find a thoughtful guide to large carnivore conservation that dispels long-held myths about their ecology and contributions to healthy, resilient landscapes.
The progress of research on Lake Erie has been marked by several milestone publications during the long struggle to restore the system. The reports of the U.S. Federal Water Pollution Control Administration (1968) and the International Joint Commission (1969) described Lake Erie in the depths of degradation. “Lake Erie in the Early Seventies” (1976) recorded the status of limnology and fisheries in the lake before remedial programs were implemented. “State of Lake Erie” (1999) described the state of the lake in response to remedial actions and at early stages of the invasion of dreissenid mussels. Checking the Pulse of Lake Erie is an update of “State of Lake Erie” in light of continued efforts at restoration and impacts from nonindigenous species. This book contains twenty papers contributed by authors from a broad spectrum of disciplines and research interests.
As in the rest of the United States, grizzly bears, wolves, and mountain lions in and around Yellowstone National Park were eliminated or reduced decades ago to very low numbers. In recent years, however, populations have begun to recover, leading to encounters between animals and people and, more significantly, to conflicts among people about what to do with these often controversial neighbors.
Coexisting with Large Carnivores presents a close-up look at the socio-political context of large carnivores and their management in western Wyoming south of Yellowstone National Park, including the southern part of what is commonly recognized as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The book brings together researchers and others who have studied and worked in the region to help untangle some of the highly charged issues associated with large carnivores, their interactions with humans, and the politics that arise from those interactions.
This volume argues that coexistence will be achieved only by a thorough understanding of the human populations involved, their values, attitudes, beliefs, and the institutions through which carnivores and humans are managed. Coexisting with Large Carnivores offers important insights into this complex, dynamic issue and provides a unique overview of issues and strategies for managers, researchers, government officials, ranchers, and everyone else concerned about the management and conservation of large carnivores and the people who live nearby.
Some ecosystem management plans established by state and federal agencies have begun to shift their focus away from single-species conservation to a broader goal of protecting a wide range of flora and fauna, including species whose numbers are scarce or about which there is little scientific understanding. To date, these efforts have proved extremely costly and complex to implement. Are there alternative approaches to protecting rare or little-known species that can be more effective and less burdensome than current efforts?
Conservation of Rare or Little-Known Species represents the first comprehensive scientific evaluation of approaches and management options for protecting rare or little-known terrestrial species. The book brings together leading ecologists, biologists, botanists, economists, and sociologists to classify approaches, summarize their theoretical and conceptual foundations, evaluate their efficacy, and review how each has been used.
Contributors consider combinations of species and systems approaches for overall effectiveness in meeting conservation and ecosystem sustainability goals. They discuss the biological, legal, sociological, political, administrative, and economic dimensions by which conservation strategies can be gauged, in an effort to help managers determine which strategy or combination of strategies is most likely to meet their needs. Contributors also discuss practical considerations of implementing various strategies.
Conservation of Rare or Little-Known Species gives land managers access to a diverse literature and provides them with the basic information they need to select approaches that best suit their conservation objectives and ecological context. It is an important new work for anyone involved with developing land management or conservation plans.
When migrating birds and other creatures move along a path of plant communities in bloom, they follow what has come to be known as a nectar trail. Should any of these plants be eliminated from the sequence—whether through habitat destruction, pests, or even aberrant weather—the movement of these pollinators may be interrupted and their very survival threatened. In recent efforts by ecologists and activists to envision a continental-scale network of protected areas connected by wildlife corridors, the peculiar roles of migratory pollinators which travel the entire length of this network cannot be underestimated in shaping the ultimate conservation design.
This book, a unique work of comparative zoogeography and conservation biology, is the first to bring together studies of these important migratory pollinators and of what we must do to conserve them. It considers the similarities and differences among the behavior and habitat requirements of several species of migratory pollinators and seed dispersers in the West—primarily rufous hummingbirds, white-winged doves, lesser long-nosed bats, and monarch butterflies. It examines the population dynamics of these four species in flyways that extend from the Pacific Ocean to the continental backbone of the Sierra Madre Oriental and Rocky Mountains, and it investigates their foraging and roosting behaviors as they journey from the Tropic of Cancer in western Mexico into the deserts, grasslands, and thornscrub of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. The four pollinators whose journeys are traced here differ dramatically from one another in foraging strategies and stopover fidelities, but all challenge many of the truisms that have emerged regarding the status of migratory species in general. The rufous hummingbird makes the longest known avian migration in relation to body size and is a key to identifying nectar corridors running through northwestern Mexico to the United States. And there is new evidence to challenge the long-supposed separation of eastern and western monarch butterfly populations by the Rocky Mountains as these insects migrate.
Conserving Migratory Pollinators and Nectar Corridors in Western North America demonstrates new efforts to understand migratory species and to determine whether their densities, survival rates, and health are changing in response to changes in the distribution and abundance of nectar plants found within their ranges. Representing collaborative efforts that bridge field ecology and conservation biology in both theory and practice, it is dedicated to safeguarding dynamic interactions among plants and pollinators that are only now being identified.
Maintaining the natural diversity of the countless species on Earth is of fundamental importance for the continued existence of life on this planet. Nevertheless, ecosystems are being destroyed, as the cultivation of land for agriculture, industry and housing is intensified and oceans continue to be exploited. The Demise of Diversity: Loss and Extinction deals with biodiversity on this planet and the vital importance of sustaining it—nothing less than the future of life on Earth.
Species are disappearing from the earth at a rate of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of times greater than every before witnessed. According to many scientists, this rapid destruction will lead to irreversible changes in the earth’s ecosystem. The Expendable Future provides a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the politics of biological diversity in the United States and of state and federal policies on endangered species from the early 1960s to the present. Drawing on congressional hearing and debates, previously unpublished public opinion surveys, interviews with state officials and employees of the Department of the Interior, and internal documents from this and other government agencies, Tobin provides an in-depth analysis of the policies on endangered species and the policy relationships among the different units of government involved in implementation. He examines the resources that are available for the protection of endangered species and the way in which those resources are matched to the priorities. Tobin also discusses the processes by which species are classified as endangered, how these species’ critical habitats are determined and protected, and the successes, and mostly failures, of current recovery programs.
Macroecology is an approach to science that emphasizes the description and explanation of patterns and processes at large spatial and temporal scales. Some scientists liken it to seeing the forest through the trees, giving the proverbial phrase an ecological twist. The term itself was first introduced to the modern literature by James H. Brown and Brian A. Maurer in a 1989 paper, and it is Brown’s classic 1995 study, Macroecology, that is credited with inspiring the broad-scale subfield of ecology. But as with all subfields, many modern-day elements of macroecology are implicit in earlier works dating back decades, even centuries.
Foundations of Macroecology charts the evolutionary trajectory of these concepts—from the species-area relationship and the latitudinal gradient of species richness to the relationship between body size and metabolic rate—through forty-six landmark papers originally published between 1920 and 1998. Divided into two parts—“Macroecology before Macroecology” and “Dimensions of Macroecology”—the collection also takes the long view, with each paper accompanied by an original commentary from a contemporary expert in the field that places it in a broader context and explains its foundational role. Providing a solid, coherent assessment of the history, current state, and potential future of the field, Foundations of Macroecology will be an essential text for students and teachers of ecology alike.
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.
As part of a global effort to identify those areas where conservation measures are needed most urgently, World Wildlife Fund has assembled teams of scientists to conduct ecological assessments of all seven continents. Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar is the latest contribution, presenting in a single volume the first in-depth analysis of the state of freshwater biodiversity across Africa, Madagascar, and the islands of the region. Looking at biodiversity and threats in terms of biological units rather than political units, the book offers a comprehensive examination of the entire range of aquatic systems.
In addition to its six main chapters, the book includes nineteen essays by regional experts that provide more depth on key issues, as well as six detailed appendixes that present summary data used in the analyses, specific analytical methodologies, and a thorough text description for each of Africa's ninety-three freshwater ecoregions.
Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar provides a blueprint for conservation action and represents an unparalleled guide for investments and activities of conservation agencies and donor organizations.
Stephen Jay Gould Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress QH366.2.G6593 2011 | Dewey Decimal 508
Gould shows why a more accurate way of understanding our world is to look at a given subject within its own context, to see it as a part of a spectrum of variation and then to reconceptualize trends as expansion or contraction of this “full house” of variation, and not as the progress or degeneration of an average value, or single thing.
The Great Lakes of the World (GLOW) is a series of international symposia organized by the Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society in order to promote interaction and communication between Great Lakes scientists and communities around the world. The purpose of GLOW is to establish a platform where understanding of structure, function, and performance of healthy and damaged ecosystems from integrated, multidisciplinary, and sustainable perspectives is promoted. This book includes papers originating in part from the first of many international symposia—Exploring the Great Lakes of the World: Food-Web Dynamics, Health and Integrity, held at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The following is adapted from the editorial: “As scientists, we accept that we can never know everything at one time about large aquatic ecosystems, due to temporal and spatial measurement limitations. This uncertainty can be reduced through sharing our knowledge of large systems so that others can incorporate our results into analyses of their systems. To that end, this book is a remarkable achievement as it does accomplish global coverage of large and great lakes.”
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.
Farmers and gardeners have long appreciated a wide variety of plants and have nurtured them for meals, healing, and exchange. But diversity too often has been surrendered to monocultures of fields and spirits, predisposing much of modern agriculture to uniformity and, consequently, vulnerability. Today it is primarily at the individual level—such as growing and saving a strange old bean variety or a curious-looking gourd—that any lasting conservation actually takes place.
As scientists grapple with the erosion of genetic diversity of crops and their wild relatives, old-timey farmers and gardeners continue to save, propagate, and pass on folk varieties and heirloom seeds. Virginia Nazarea focuses on the role of these seedsavers in the perpetuation of diversity. She thoughtfully examines the framework of scientific conservation and argues for the merits of everyday conservation—one that is beyond programmatic design. Whether considering small-scale rice and sweet potato farmers in the Philippines or participants in the Southern Seed Legacy and Introduced Germplasm from Vietnam in the American South, she explores roads not necessarily less traveled but certainly less recognized in the conservation of biodiversity.
Through characters and stories that offer a wealth of insights about human nature and society, Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers helps readers more fully understand why biodiversity persists when there are so many pressures for it not to. The key, Nazarea explains, is in the sovereign spaces seedsavers inhabit and create, where memories counter a culture of forgetting and abandonment engendered by modernity. A book about theory as much as practice, it profiles these individuals, who march to their own beat in a world where diversity is increasingly devalued as the predictability of mass production becomes the norm.
Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers offers a much-needed, scientifically researched perspective on the contribution of seedsaving that illustrates its critical significance to the preservation of both cultural knowledge and crop diversity around the world. It opens new conversations between anthropology and biology, and between researchers and practitioners, as it honors conservation as a way of life.
Invasive Alien Species: A New Synthesis
Edited by Harold A. Mooney, Richard N. Mack, Jeffrey A. McNeely, Laurie E. Neville, Peter Johan Schei, and Jeffrey K. Waage Island Press, 2005 Library of Congress QH353.I5825 2005 | Dewey Decimal 578.62
Invasive alien species are among today's most daunting environmental threats, costing billions of dollars in economic damages and wreaking havoc on ecosystems around the world. In 1997, a consortium of scientific organizations including SCOPE, IUCN, and CABI developed the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) with the explicit objective of providing new tools for understanding and coping with invasive alien species. Invasive Alien Species is the final report of GISP's first phase of operation, 1997-2000, in which authorities from more than thirty countries worked to examine invasions as a worldwide environmental hazard. The book brings together the world's leading scientists and researchers involved with invasive alien species to offer a comprehensive summary and synthesis of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Invasive alien species represent a critical threat to natural ecosystems and native biodiversity, as well as to human economic vitality and health. The knowledge gained to date in understanding and combating invasive alien species can form a useful basis on which to build strategies for controlling or minimizing the effects in the future. Invasive Alien Species is an essential reference for the international community of investigators concerned with biological invasions.
Over the past several decades, the field of invasion biology has rapidly expanded as global trade and the spread of human populations have increasingly carried animal and plant species across natural barriers that have kept them ecologically separated for millions of years. Because some of these nonnative species thrive in their new homes and harm environments, economies, and human health, the prevention and management of invasive species has become a major policy goal from local to international levels.
Yet even though ecological research has led to public conversation and policy recommendations, those recommendations have frequently been ignored, and the efforts to counter invasive species have been largely unsuccessful. Recognizing the need to engage experts across the life, social, and legal sciences as well as the humanities, the editors of this volume have drawn together a wide variety of ecologists, historians, economists, legal scholars, policy makers, and communications scholars, to facilitate a dialogue among these disciplines and understand fully the invasive species phenomenon. Aided by case studies of well-known invasives such as the cane toad of Australia and the emerald ash borer, Asian carp, and sea lampreys that threaten US ecosystems, Invasive Species in a Globalized World offers strategies for developing and implementing anti-invasive policies designed to stop their introduction and spread, and to limit their effects.
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.
Keepers of the Wolves
Richard P. Thiel University of Wisconsin Press, 2018 Library of Congress QL737.C22T474 2018 | Dewey Decimal 599.77309775
It was 1978, and gray wolves had been extinct in Wisconsin for twenty years. Still, there were rumors from the state's northwestern counties that they had returned. Dick Thiel, then a college student with a passion for wolves, was determined to find out. Keepers of the Wolves is his engrossing account of tracking and protecting the recovery of wolves in Wisconsin. Thiel conveys the wonder, frustrations, humor, and everyday hard work of field biologists, including the political and public relations pitfalls they regularly face.
This new edition brings Thiel's story into the twenty-first century, recounting his work monitoring wolves as they spread to central Wisconsin, conflicts of wolves with landowners and recreationalists, changes in state and federal policies, the establishment of a state wolf-hunting season in 2012, and Thiel's forecast for the future of wolves in Wisconsin.
Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes and the fifth largest lake in the world (surface area: 59,000 km2). It is also one of the least known lakes in the Great Lakes system in terms of limnology and food web dynamics. To rectify this, the Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society organized an international symposium in September 1993, which they followed with the publication of this peer-reviewed book. In total, forty-five papers were presented during the conference on topics ranging from microbial ecology, the role of exotic species, and sediment toxicology, to fisheries and wildlife of Lake Huron and its basin. With few existing comprehensive reports on the limnology and fisheries of Lake Huron, this detailed book helps bridge the information gap by introducing a multidisciplinary and ecosystematic approach to Great Lake (particularly Lake Huron) research.
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 the University of Arizona announced plans to build observatories on Mt. Graham, atop the Pinaleño Mountains, the construction was seen as a potential threat to an isolated species found only on this sky island. The Mt. Graham red squirrel was declared “endangered” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Legal action required the university to provide funds for research and monitoring the Mt. Graham red squirrel.
This book is derived from a symposium on the Mt. Graham red squirrel and offers a comprehensive picture of the ecology of this red squirrel and the impacts on its mountain home. Forty contributors detail studies conducted to understand the natural history of the creature and the challenges and changing ecological conditions on Mt. Graham.
Each chapter tells a unique story that contributes to the mosaic of natural history knowledge about the endangered Mt. Graham red squirrel. They reflect diverse viewpoints on the problems of conserving the habitats and populations of the squirrel, showing how it was complicated by perspectives ranging from Native Americans’ concern over traditional lands to astronomers’ hope for a better view of space, and by issues ranging from forestry practices to climate change. Studies of such factors as squirrel middens, seed hoarding, and nest sites provide definitive research on the animal.
Ongoing censuses continue to track the squirrel’s population trends, and both Forest Service and Arizona Department of Transportation activities continue to be scrutinized by interested parties to determine their impact. This book represents an authoritative overview of this still-endangered species and its habitat.
Mountain goats have been among the least studied of North American ungulates, leaving wildlife managers with little information on which to base harvest strategies or conservation plans.
This book offers the first comprehensive assessment of the ecology and behavior of mountain goats, setting forth the results of a remarkable 16-year longitudinal study of more than 300 marked individuals in a population in Alberta, Canada. The authors’ thorough, long-term study allowed them to draw important conclusions about mountain goat ecology—including individual reproductive strategies, population dynamics, and sensitivity to human disturbance—and to use those conclusions in offering guidance for developing effective conservation strategies.
-habitat use, vegetation quality, and seasonal movements
-sexual segregation and social organization
-individual variability in yearly and lifetime reproductive success of females
-age- and sex-specific survival and dispersal
-reproductive strategies and population dynamics
-management and conservation of mountain goats
The book also draws on the rich literature on long-term monitoring of marked ungulates to explore similarities and differences between mountain goats and other species, particularly bighorn sheep and ibex.
By monitoring a marked population over a long period of time, researchers were able to document changes in sex-age structure and identify factors driving population dynamics. Because it explores the links between individual life-history strategy and population dynamics in a natural setting, Mountain Goats will be an invaluable resource for wildlife managers, researchers in ecology and animal behavior, conservationists, population biologists, and anyone concerned with the ecology and management of natural populations, especially in alpine environments.
Old-growth forests represent a lofty ideal as much as an ecosystem—an icon of unspoiled nature, ecological stability, and pristine habitat. These iconic notions have actively altered the way society relates to old-growth forests, catalyzing major changes in policy and management. But how appropriate are those changes and how well do they really serve in reaching conservation goals?
Old Growth in a New World untangles the complexities of the old growth concept and the parallel complexity of old-growth policy and management. It brings together more than two dozen contributors—ecologists, economists, sociologists, managers, historians, silviculturists, environmentalists, timber producers, and philosophers—to offer a broad suite of perspectives on changes that have occurred in the valuing and management of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest over the past thirty years. The book
• introduces the issues and history of old-growth values and conservation in the Pacific Northwest;
• explores old growth through the ideas of leading ecologists and social scientists;
• addresses the implications for the future management of old-growth forests and considers how evolving science and social knowledge might be used to increase conservation effectiveness.
By confronting the complexity of the old-growth concept and associated policy and management challenges, Old Growth in a New World encourages productive discussion on the future of old growth in the Pacific Northwest and offers options for more effective approaches to conserving forest biodiversity.
On the Organic Law of Change
Alfred Russel Wallace Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress QH375.W35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 508.598
Marking the centennial of Alfred Russel Wallace's death, James Costa presents an elegant edition of the "Species Notebook" of 1855-1859, which Wallace kept during his Malay Archipelago expedition. Presented in facsimile with text transcription and annotations, this never-before-published document provides a window into the travels, trials, and genius of the co-discoverer of natural selection.
In one section, headed "Note for Organic Law of Change"--a critique of geologist Charles Lyell's anti-evolutionary arguments--Wallace sketches a book he would never write, owing to the unexpected events of 1858. In that year he sent a manuscript announcing his discovery of natural selection to Charles Darwin. Lyell and the botanist Joseph Hooker proposed a joint reading at the Linnean Society of his scientific paper with Darwin's earlier private writings on the subject. Darwin would go on to publish On the Origin of Species in 1859, to much acclaim; pre-empted, Wallace's first book on evolution waited two decades, but by then he had abandoned his original concept. On the Organic Law of Change realizes in spirit Wallace's unfinished project, and asserts his stature as not only a founder of biogeography and the preeminent tropical biologist of his day but as Darwin's equal.
About half of all species under threat of extinction in the world today are plants. The loss of plant biodiversity is disturbing for many reasons, but especially because it is a reflection of the growing disconnect between humans and nature. Plants have been used for millennia in traditional systems of healing and have held a significant place in drug development for Western medicine as well. Despite the recent dominance of synthetic drug production, natural product discovery remains the backbone of drug development. As the diversity of life on Earth is depleted and increasing numbers of species become lost to extinction, we continue to lose opportunities to achieve advances in medicine.
Through stories of drug revelation in nature and forays into botany, human behavior, and conservation, Kara Rogers sheds light on the multiple ways in which humans, medicine, and plants are interconnected. With accessible and engaging writing, she explores the relationships between humans and plants, relating the stories of plant hunters of centuries past and examining the impact of human activities on the environment and the world's biodiversity. Rogers also highlights the role that plant-based products can play in encouraging conservation and protecting the heritage and knowledge of indigenous peoples.
Out of Nature provides a fresh perspective on modern drug innovation and its relationship with nature. The book delves into the complexity of biophilia—the innate human attraction to life in the natural world—and suggests that the reawakening of this drive is fundamental to expanding conservation efforts and improving medicine. Rogers's examination of plants, humans, and drug discovery also conveys a passionate optimism for the future of biodiversity and medicine. Including a collection of hand-drawn maps and plant illustrations created by the author, this well-researched narrative will inspire as well as inform.
The environmental diversity of North America is astounding—from the circumpolar tundra with few plants more than a few centimeters tall to the lush, semitropical forests of the southeastern United States and Caribbean Basin. No less remarkable is the record of plants usage by the various indigenous people who have been living there for more than twelve millennia. For the vast majority of this time, their livelihood—food, shelter, fuel, and medicine—depended on their knowledge and use of the environment.
The most comprehensive overview in more than half a century about the interconnectedness of prehistoric Native Americans and their botanical world, this book and its forthcoming companion volume, People and Plants in Ancient Western North America, present the latest information on three major topics: the use of native plants, the history of crops and their uses, and how humans affected their environment. In this volume, expert scholars summarize the prehistoric ethnobotany of four regions: the Eastern Woodlands (W. Cowan, K. Gremillion, M. Scarry, B. Smith, and G. Wagner), Northeast (G. Crawford and D. Smith), Plains (M. Adair), and Caribbean (L. Newsom and D. Pearsall).
This volume contributes significantly to our understanding of the lives of prehistoric people as well as the forces that influenced their communities, their ingenuity, and their ecological impact. It also serves as a guide for designing environmentally sustainable lives today.
The environmental diversity of North America is astounding—from circumpolar tundra with a small number of plants more than a few centimeters tall to the lush semitropical forests of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean Basin. No less remarkable is the record of plant usage by the various indigenous peoples who have been living here for more than 12,000 years. For the vast majority of this time, their livelihood—food, shelter, fuel, and medicine—depended on their knowledge and use of the plants that surrounded them.
The most comprehensive overview in more than half a century on the interconnectedness of people and plants, this book and its companion volume, People and Plants in Ancient Eastern North America, present the latest information on three major topics: the uses of native plants, the history of crops and their uses, and the impact of humans on their environment. They not only contribute to our understanding of the lives of prehistoric people but also serve as guides for designing sustainable living today.
"People of the Desert and Sea is one of those books that should not have to wait a generation or two to be considered a classic. A feast for the eye as well as the mind, this ethnobotany of the Seri Indians of Sonora represents the most detailed exploration of plant use by a hunting-and-gathering people to date. . . . Scholarship in the best sense of the term—precise without being pedantic, exhaustive without exhausting its readers."—Journal of Arizona History
"To read and gaze through this elegantly illustrated book is to be exposed, as if through a work of science fiction, to an astonishing and unknown cultural world."—North Dakota Quarterly
Planet Without Apes
Craig B. Stanford Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress QL737.P96S733 2012 | Dewey Decimal 599.88
Can we live with the consequences of wiping our closest relatives off the face of the Earth, and all the biological knowledge about ourselves that would die along with them? Extinction of the great apes threatens to become a reality within a few human generations. Stanford tells us how we can redirect the course of an otherwise bleak future.
Ranching is as much a part of the West as its wide-open spaces. The mystique of rugged individualism has sustained this activity well past the frontier era and has influenced how we view—and value—those open lands.
Nathan Sayre now takes a close look at how the ranching ideal has come into play in the conversion of a large tract of Arizona rangeland from private ranch to National Wildlife Refuge. He tells how the Buenos Aires Ranch, a working operation for a hundred years, became not only a rallying point for multiple agendas in the "rangeland conflict" after its conversion to a wildlife refuge but also an expression of the larger shift from agricultural to urban economies in the Southwest since World War II.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bought the Buenos Aires Ranch in 1985, removed all livestock, and attempted to restore the land to its "original" grassland in order to protect an endangered species, the masked bobwhite quail. Sayre examines the history of the ranch and the bobwhite together, exploring the interplay of social, economic, and ecological issues to show how ranchers and their cattle altered the land—for better or worse—during a century of ranching and how the masked bobwhite became a symbol for environmentalists who believe that the removal of cattle benefits rangelands and wildlife.
Sayre evaluates both sides of the Buenos Aires controversy—from ranching's impact on the environment to environmentalism's sometimes misguided efforts at restoration—to address the complex and contradictory roles of ranching, endangered species conservation, and urbanization in the social and environmental transformation of the West. He focuses on three dimensions of the Buenos Aires story: the land and its inhabitants, both human and animal; the role of government agencies in shaping range and wildlife management; and the various species of capital—economic, symbolic, and bureaucratic—that have structured the activities of ranchers, environmentalists, and government officials.
The creation of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge has been a symbolic victory for environmentalists, but it comes at the cost of implicitly legitimizing the ongoing fragmentation and suburbanization of Arizona's still-wild rangelands. Sayre reveals how the polarized politics of "the rangeland conflict" have bound the Fish and Wildlife Service to a narrow, ineffectual management strategy on the Buenos Aires, with greater attention paid to increasing tourism from birdwatchers than to the complex challenge of restoring the masked bobwhite and its habitat. His findings show that the urban boom of the late twentieth century echoed the cattle boom of a century before—capitalizing on land rather than grass, humans rather than cattle—in a book that will serve as a model for restoration efforts in any environment.
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.
Information regarding population status and abundance of rare species plays a key role in resource management decisions. Ideally, data should be collected using statistically sound sampling methods, but by their very nature, rare or elusive species pose a difficult sampling challenge.
Sampling Rare or Elusive Species describes the latest sampling designs and survey methods for reliably estimating occupancy, abundance, and other population parameters of rare, elusive, or otherwise hard-to-detect plants and animals. It offers a mixture of theory and application, with actual examples from terrestrial, aquatic, and marine habitats around the world.
Sampling Rare or Elusive Species is the first volume devoted entirely to this topic and provides natural resource professionals with a suite of innovative approaches to gathering population status and trend data. It represents an invaluable reference for natural resource professionals around the world, including fish and wildlife biologists, ecologists, biometricians, natural resource managers, and all others whose work or research involves rare or elusive species.
Serengeti: Dynamics of an Ecosystem
Edited by A. R. E. Sinclair and M. Norton-Griffiths University of Chicago Press, 1979 Library of Congress QL337.T3S43 | Dewey Decimal 574.5264
Originally published in 1979, Serengeti: Dynamics of an Ecosystem was immediately recognized as the first synthesis of the patterns and processes of a major ecosystem. A prototype for initial studies, Serengeti contains baseline data for further and comparative studies of ecosystems. The new Serengeti II builds on the information presented originally in Serengeti; both books together offer essential information and insights for ecology and conservation biology.
Serengeti II: Dynamics, Management, and Conservation of an Ecosystem brings together twenty years of research by leading scientists to provide the most most thorough understanding to date of the spectacular Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa, home to one of the largest and most diverse populations of animals in the world.
Building on the groundwork laid by the classic Serengeti: Dynamics of an Ecosystem, published in 1979 by the University of Chicago Press, this new book integrates studies of the ecosystem at every level—from the plants at the bottom of the visible food chain, to the many species of herbivores and predators, to the system as a whole. Drawing on new data from many long-term studies and from more recent research initiatives, and applying new theory and computer technology, the contributors examine the large-scale processes that have produced the Serengeti's extraordinary biological diversity, as well as the interactions among species and between plants and animals and their environment. They also introduce computer modeling as a tool for exploring these interactions, employing this new technology to test and anticipate the effects of social, political, and economic changes on the entire ecosystem and on particular species, and so to shape future conservation and management strategies.
Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, a natural laboratory for ecology, evolution, and conservation, with a history that dates back at least four million years to the beginnings of human evolution. The third book of a ground- breaking series, Serengeti III is the result of a long-term integrated research project that documents changes to this unique ecosystem every ten years.
Bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines—ecologists, paleontologists, economists, social scientists, mathematicians, and disease specialists— this volume focuses on the interactions between the natural system and the human-dominated agricultural system. By examining how changes in rainfall, wildebeest numbers, commodity prices, and human populations have impacted the Serengeti ecosystem, the authors conclude that changes in the natural system have affected human welfare just as changes in the human system have impacted the natural world. To promote both the conservation of biota and the sustainability of human welfare, the authors recommend community-based conservation and protected-area conservation. Serengeti III presents a timely and provocative look at the conservation status of one of earth’s most renowned ecosystems.
The vast savannas and great migrations of the Serengeti conjure impressions of a harmonious and balanced ecosystem. But in reality, the history of the Serengeti is rife with battles between human and non-human nature. In the 1890s and several times since, the cattle virus rinderpest—at last vanquished in 2008—devastated both domesticated and wild ungulate populations, as well as the lives of humans and other animals who depended on them. In the 1920s, tourists armed with the world’s most expensive hunting gear filled the grasslands. And in recent years, violence in Tanzania has threatened one of the most successful long-term ecological research centers in history.
Serengeti IV, the latest installment in a long-standing series on the region’s ecology and biodiversity, explores the role of our species as a source of both discord and balance in Serengeti ecosystem dynamics. Through chapters charting the complexities of infectious disease transmission across populations, agricultural expansion, and the many challenges of managing this ecosystem today, this book shows how the people and landscapes surrounding crucial protected areas like Serengeti National Park can and must contribute to Serengeti conservation. In order to succeed, conservation efforts must also focus on the welfare of indigenous peoples, allowing them both to sustain their agricultural practices and to benefit from the natural resources provided by protected areas—an undertaking that will require the strengthening of government and education systems and, as such, will present one of the greatest conservation challenges of the next century.
It was through control of the shattering of wild seeds that humans first domesticated plants. Now control over those very plants threatens to shatter the world's food supply, as loss of genetic diversity sets the stage for widespread hunger.
Large-scale agriculture has come to favor uniformity in food crops. More than 7,000 U.S. apple varieties once grew in American orchards; 6,000 of them are no longer available. Every broccoli variety offered through seed catalogs in 1900 has now disappeared. As the international genetics supply industry absorbs seed companies—with nearly one thousand takeovers since 1970—this trend toward uniformity seems likely to continue; and as third world agriculture is brought in line with international business interests, the gene pools of humanity's most basic foods are threatened.
The consequences are more than culinary. Without the genetic diversity from which farmers traditionally breed for resistance to diseases, crops are more susceptible to the spread of pestilence. Tragedies like the Irish Potato Famine may be thought of today as ancient history; yet the U.S. corn blight of 1970 shows that technologically based agribusiness is a breeding ground for disaster.
Shattering reviews the development of genetic diversity over 10,000 years of human agriculture, then exposes its loss in our lifetime at the hands of political and economic forces. The possibility of crisis is real; this book shows that it may not be too late to avert it.
State of Lake Michigan is part of the Ecovision World Monograph Series, which is devoted to exploring the state, ecology, and integrity of the lakes. It is the formal outcome of an international symposium on Lake Michigan, organized by the Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society, and chaired by T. Edsall and M. Munawar. State of Lake Michigan reviews the status of the major Lake Michigan ecosystem components and provides a basis for evaluating the health of the lake and for promoting integrated management of this exceptional natural resource. The book consists of papers by professionals in the Great Lakes region who are recognized for their contributions to the advancement of Great Lakes science and management. The book also includes an extensive subject index. Other sections explore physical and chemical regimes, food web, water birds, wetlands, and management and initiatives.
The State of Lake Ontario is a giant step forward in the study of Lake Ontario’s fisheries and limnology. The sixty-three authors have contributed twenty-two papers on physical and chemical limnology, food-web linkages, fish community dynamics, contaminants, water birds, and impacts of nonindigenous species. As the “lake below the Falls,” Lake Ontario has long been impacted by invasive species. The historic invaders (sea lamprey, alewife, and white perch) were trouble enough, but recent invasions of dreissenid mussels, gobies, and crustaceans have further disrupted an unstable system. Contaminant burdens in fish and water birds have been a persistent problem. As the smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario has some of the biggest ecosystem health problems.
Lake Superior was saved from the extremes felt elsewhere because it is the top of the drainage landscape. Superior offered the prospects of greatest success because it was, in general, least altered. Many decades later, Superior serves as the best example of success in recovering from environmental adversity. This is not to say that restoration is complete or that all ecological problems are resolved. The heavy hand of humanity continues to cause important threats to the present and future state of Lake Superior. State of Lake Superior offers a polythetic view of current conditions in Lake Superior and insightful suggestions about where and how improvements should continue. The chapters range from basic reviews of what we know as a consequence of effective research to explorations of what little we know about challenging environmental issues for the future. Among these are the continuing concerns about contaminants, the burgeoning march of invasive species, and the portent of global change. We find some encouragement in the resilience of this large lake ecosystem. In many respects, it is a success story, as is shown from the insights of research merged with the mindful attention of management agencies.
News headlines would often have us believe that conservationists are inevitably locked in conflict with the people who live and work on the lands they seek to protect. Not so. Across the western expanses of the United States, conservationists, ranchers, and forest workers are bucking preconceptions to establish common ground. As they join together to protect the wide open spaces, diverse habitats, and working landscapes upon which people, plants, and animals depend, a new vision of management is emerging in which the conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem integrity, and sustainable resource use are seen not as antithetical, but as compatible, even symbiotic goals.
Featuring contributions from an impressive array of scientists, conservationists, scholars, ranchers, and foresters, Stitching the West Back Together explores that expanded, inclusive vision of environmentalism as it delves into the history and evolution of Western land use policy and of the working landscapes themselves. Chapters include detailed case studies of efforts to promote both environmental and economic sustainability, with lessons learned; descriptions of emerging institutional frameworks for conserving Western working landscapes; and implications for best practices and policies crucial to the future of the West’s working forests and rangelands. As economic and demographic forces threaten these lands with fragmentation and destruction, this book encourages a hopeful balance between production and conservation on the large, interconnected landscapes required for maintaining cultural and biological diversity over the longterm.
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.
Let's get dirty. In childhood, the back yard, the flowerbed, the beach, the mucky place where land slips into puddles, lakes, and streams are infinitely fascinating. It is a mistake to leave that "childish" fascination with mud and dirt behind. The soils of the Earth, whether underneath our feet or pressurized beneath tons of ocean water, hold life in abundance. A handful of garden dirt may harbor more species than the entire aboveground Amazon.
The robotic rovers Spirit and Opportunity made headlines as they scraped their way across the Martian landscape, searching for signs of life. But while our eyes have been turned toward the skies, teeming beneath us and largely unexplored lies what Science magazine recently called the true "final frontier." A growing array of scientists is exploring life in soils and sediments, uncovering a living world literally alien to our own senses--and yet one whose integrity turns out to be crucial to life above ground.
Yvonne Baskin takes the reader from the polar desert of Antarctica to the coastal rain forests of Canada, from the rangelands of Yellowstone National Park to the vanishing wetlands of the Mississippi River basin, from Dutch pastures to English sounds, and beyond. She introduces exotic creatures--from bacteria and fungi to microscopic nematode worms, springtails, and mud shrimp--and shows us what scientists are learning about their contribution to sustaining a green and healthy world above ground. She also explores the alarming ways in which air pollution, trawl fishing, timber cutting, introductions of invasive species, wetland destruction, and the like threaten this underground diversity and how their loss, in turn, affects our own well being.
Two-thirds of the world's biological diversity exists in soils and underwater sediments, and yet most of us remain unaware of these tiny multitudes that run the planet beneath the scenes. In Under Ground, Baskin reveals the startling ways in which that life, whether in our own back yards, in fields and forests, or in the furthest reaches of the Earth, is more numerous, significant, and fascinating than we once imagined.
The Value of Life is an exploration of the actual and perceived importance of biological diversity for human beings and society. Stephen R. Kellert identifies ten basic values, which he describes as biologically based, inherent human tendencies that are greatly influenced and moderated by culture, learning, and experience. Drawing on 20 years of original research, he considers: the universal basis for how humans value nature differences in those values by gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, and geographic location how environment-related activities affect values variation in values relating to different species how vlaues vary across cultures policy and management implications Throughout the book, Kellert argues that the preservation of biodiversity is fundamentally linked to human well-being in the largest sense as he illustrates the importance of biological diversity to the human sociocultural and psychological condition.
In the heart of Wyoming sprawls the ancient homeland of the Eastern Shoshone Indians, who were forced by the U.S. government to share a reservation in the Wind River basin and flanking mountain ranges with their historical enemy, the Northern Arapahos. Both tribes lost their sovereign, wide-ranging ways of life and economic dependence on decimated buffalo. Tribal members subsisted on increasingly depleted numbers of other big game—deer, elk, moose, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. In 1978, the tribal councils petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help them recover their wildlife heritage. Bruce Smith became the first wildlife biologist to work on the reservation. Wildlife on the Wind recounts how he helped Native Americans change the course of conservation for some of America's most charismatic wildlife.
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.
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.