Understanding how ecosystems are assembled -- how the species that make up a particular biological community arrive in an area, survive, and interact with other species -- is key to successfully restoring degraded ecosystems. Yet little attention has been paid to the idea of assembly rules in ecological restoration, in both the scientific literature and in on-the-ground restoration efforts.
Assembly Rules and Restoration Ecology, edited by Vicky M. Temperton, Richard J. Hobbs, Tim Nuttle, and Stefan Halle, addresses that shortcoming, offering an introduction, overview, and synthesis of the potential role of assembly rules theory in restoration ecology. It brings together information and ideas relating to ecosystem assembly in a restoration context, and includes material from a wide geographic range and a variety of perspectives.
Assembly Rules and Restoration Ecology contributes new knowledge and ideas to the subjects of assembly rules and restoration ecology and represents an important summary of the current status of an emerging field. It combines theoretical and practical aspects of restoration, making it a vital compendium of information and ideas for restoration ecologists, professionals, and practitioners.
Ecologists, although they acknowledge the problems involved, generally conduct their research on too few species, in too small an area, over too short a period of time. In The Balance of Nature?, a work sure to stir controversy, the distinguished theoretical ecologist Stuart L. Pimm argues that ecology therefore fails in many ways to address the enormous ecological problems now facing our planet.
Ecologists describing phenomena on larger scales often use terms like "stability," "balance of nature," and "fragility," and Pimm begins by considering the various specific meanings of these terms. He addresses five kinds of ecological stability—stability in the strict sense, resilience, variability, persistence, and resistance—and shows how they provide ways of comparing natural populations and communities as well as theories about them. Each type of stability depends on characteristics of the species studied and also on the structure of the food web in which the species is embedded and the physical features of the environment.
The Balance of Nature? provides theoretical ecology with a rich array of questions—questions that also underpin pressing problems in practical conservation biology. Pimm calls for nothing less than new approaches to ecology and a new alliance between theoretical and empirical studies.
Increasing numbers of Americans are fleeing cities and suburbs for the small towns and open spaces that surround national and state parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites, and other public lands. With their scenic beauty and high quality of life, these "gateway communities" have become a magnet for those looking to escape the congestion and fast tempo of contemporary American society.Yet without savvy planning, gateway communities could easily meet the same fate as the suburban communities that were the promised land of an earlier generation. This volume can help prevent that from happening.The authors offer practical and proven lessons on how residents of gateway communities can protect their community's identity while stimulating a healthy economy and safeguarding nearby natural and historic resources. They describe economic development strategies, land-use planning processes, and conservation tools that communities from all over the country have found effective. Each strategy or process is explained with specific examples, and numerous profiles and case studies clearly demonstrate how different communities have coped with the challenges of growth and development. Among the cities profiled are Boulder, Colorado; Townsend and Pittman Center Tennessee; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Tyrrell County, North Carolina; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Sanibel Island, Florida; Calvert County, Maryland; Tuscon, Arizona; and Mount Desert Island, Maine.Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities provides important lessons in how to preserve the character and integrity of communities and landscapes without sacrificing local economic well-being. It is an important resource for planners, developers, local officials, and concerned citizens working to retain the high quality of life and natural beauty of these cities and towns.
The past five decades have witnessed a rapid growth of computer models for simulating ecosystem functions and dynamics. This has been fueled by the availability of remote sensing data, computation capability, and cross-disciplinary knowledge. These models contain many submodules for simulating different processes and forcing mechanisms, albeit it has become challenging to truly understand the details due to their complexity. Most ecosystem models, fortunately, are rooted in a few core biophysical foundations, such as the widely recognized Farquhar model, Ball-Berry-Leuning and Medlyn family models, Penman-Monteith equation, Priestley-Taylor model, and Michaelis-Menten kinetics. After an introduction of biophysical essentials, four chapters present the core algorithms and their behaviors in modeling ecosystem production, respiration, evapotranspiration, and global warming potentials. Each chapter is composed of a brief introduction of the literature, in which model algorithms, their assumptions, and performances are described in detail. Spreadsheet (or Python codes) templates are included in each chapter for modeling exercises with different input parameters as online materials, which include datasets, parameter estimation, and real-world applications (e.g., calculations of global warming potentials). Users can also apply their own datasets. The materials included in this volume serve as effective tools for users to understand model behaviors and uses with specified conditions and in situ applications.
Biotic Communities catalogs and defines by biome, or biotic community, the region centered on Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Baja California Norte, plus California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Coahuila, Sinaloa, and Baja California Sur. Originally published in 1982 by the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum, this ambitious book is still a "must-have" for those working in natural resources management and ecological research, as well as non-specialists who wish to know more about a particular locale.
Biotic Communities is arranged by climatic formation with a short chapter for each biome describing climate, physiognomy, distribution, dominant and common plant species, and characteristic vertebrates. Subsequent chapters contain careful descriptions of zonal subdivisions. The text is supplemented with over one hundred black and white photographs illustrating almost every community type.
Sand dunes are among the most rugged and beautiful natural wonders of Michigan's shorelines. These sandy edifices-at once substantial and ephemeral-are the most extensive freshwater dunes in the world, so immense they are visible from outer space. The coastal dunes are also extraordinarily fertile, supporting a multitude of plants and animals.
Borne of the Wind describes the environmental factors necessary for dune creation in an easy-to-understand format, introducing readers to the rich ecology of Michigan's dunes. Each of the distinct types of dunes encountered along the Great Lakes shoreline is explained and illustrated with color photographs and line drawings, while color photographs of the plants and animals found in duneland areas complement the story of these fragile, ever-changing landscapes.
For scholars and enthusiasts alike, Borne of the Wind provides a comprehensive and colorful introduction to one of our finest yet least-understood natural features.
Northern Michigan is undergoing unprecedented changes in land use, climate, resource extraction, and species distributions. For the last hundred years, the University of Michigan Biological Station has monitored these environmental transformations. Stretching 10,000 acres along Burt and Douglas Lakes in the northern Lower Peninsula and 3,200 acres on Sugar Island near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the station has played host to nearly 10,000 students and a steady stream of top scientists in the fields of biology, ecology, geology, archeology, and climatology.
The Changing Environment of Northern Michigan collects essays by some of these scientists, who lead readers on virtual field trips exploring the history of people and science at the station itself, the relations of indigenous people to the land, the geophysical history of the region, characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, key groups of organisms and their relations to local habitats, and perspectives on critical environmental challenges of today and their effects on the region. Accompanying the chapters are color illustrations and photographs that bring the station's pristine setting to life.
Like the station itself, the book provides a solid background for better appreciating the relationships among living and nonliving parts of northern Michigan, for anyone interested in exploring the region's forests, fields, and wetlands; wading or paddling down its rivers; or swimming or floating across its lakes.
Knute J. Nadelhoffer is Director of the University of Michigan Biological Station and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan.
Alan J. Hogg, Jr., teaches science writing at the University of Michigan as a faculty member of the Sweetland Writing Center. His Ph.D. research explored the effects of ozone and nitrogen oxides on University of Michigan Biological Station forests.
Brian A. Hazlett is Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Michigan.
Cerro Azul, a pre-Inca fishing community in the Kingdom of Huarco, Peru, stood at the interface between a rich marine ecosystem and an irrigated coastal plain. Under the direction of its noble families, Cerro Azul dried millions of fish for shipment to inland communities, from which it received agricultural products and dried llama meat.
Using the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest as a case study, Kai Lee describes the concept and practice of "adaptive management," as he examines the successes and failures of past and present management experiences. Throughout the book, the author delves deeply into the theoretical framework behind the real-world experience, exploring how theories of science, politics, and cognitive psychology can be integrated into environmental management plans to increase their effectiveness.
Using an energy systems language that combines energetics, kinetics, information, cybernetics, and simulation, Ecological and General Systems compares models of many fields of science, helping to derive general systems principles.
First published as Systems Ecology in 1983, Ecological and General Systems proposes principles of self-organization and the designs that prevail by maximizing power and efficiency. Comparisons to fifty other systems languages are provided. Innovative presentations are given on earth homeostasis (Gaia); the inadequacy of presenting equations without network relationships and energy constraints; the alternative interpretation of high entropy complexity as adaptive structure; basic equations of ecological economics; and the energy basis of scientific hierarchy.
Part I introduces energetics, hierarchy, and systems modeling. Part II features design elements: intersections, autocatalytic modules, loops, series, parallel elements, and webs. Part III includes embodied energy, spectra of energy quality, temperature, complexity, spatial distribution, and diversity. Part IV discusses production, consumption, ecosystems, succession, economic systems, anthropological models, urban and regional models, global biogeochemistry, and the universe.
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.
The re-emerging field of ethnoecology offers a promising way to document and analyze human-environment interactions. This collection brings the discipline into sharp focus, conveying local understandings of environments and proposing a way of looking at the relationship between humans and the natural world that emphasizes the importance of cognition in shaping behavior. Case studies by international experts explore the varied views of scholars on the human dimension of conversation and the different views of local peoples regarding their own environments. Filled with peoples' voices from North and South America, Africa, and Asia, these cases cover a range of issues: natural resource conservation and sustainable development, the relationship between local knowledge and biodiversity, the role of the commons in development, and the importance of diversity and equity in environmental management. As the only volume to address the status of this increasingly multidisciplinary field—especially as it relates to the differential power of multiple stakeholders—Ethnoecology: Situated Knowledge/Located Lives is intended for a wide range of specialists not only in social and natural sciences but also in agricultural studies. It conveys the overriding importance of this powerful methodological approach in providing insiders' perspectives on their environment and how they manage it. CONTENTS
1. Introduction. A View from a Point: Ethnoecology as Situated Knowledge, Virginia D. Nazarea
2. The Value of Subsistence for the Future of the World, Eugene S. Hunn
3. Practical and Religious Meanings of the Navajo Hogan, Lillie Lane
4. The Agronomy of Memory and the Memory of Agronomy: Ritual Conservation of Archaic Cultigens in Contemporary Farming Systems, Michael R. Dove
5. Ethnoecology Serving the Community: A Case Study from Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, Richard I. Ford
6. Lenses and Latitudes in Landscapes and Lifescapes, Virginia D. Nazarea
7. Cultural Landscapes and Biodiversity: The Ethnoecology of an Upper R¡o Grande Watershed Commons, Devon G. Peña
8. Conserving Folk Crop Varieties: Different Agricultures, Different Goals, Daniela Soleri and Steven E. Smith
9. Plant Constituents and the Nutrition and Health of Indigenous Peoples, Timothy Johns
10. Sustainable Production and Harvest of Medicinal and Aromatic Herbs in the Sierras de C¢rdoba Region, Argentina, Marta Lagrotteria and James M. Affolter
11. Managing the Maya Commons: The Value of Local Knowledge, Scott Atran
12. Safeguarding Traditional Resource Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Darrell A. Posey
13. A Practical Primer on Intellectual Property Rights in a Contemporary Ethnoecological Context, David J. Stephenson, Jr.
14. Toward Compensation: Returning Benefits from Ethnobotanical Drug Discovery to Native Peoples, Katy Moran
15. Am I My Brother's Keeper?, Christine S. Kabuye
16. Epilogue. Quo Vadis? The Promise of Ethnoecology, Robert E. Rhoades and Jack Harlan
The culmination of three decades of work by Michigan Natural Features Inventory ecologists, this essential guidebook to the natural communities of Michigan introduces the diverse terrain of a unique state. Small enough to carry in a backpack, this field guide provides a system for dividing the complex natural landscape of Michigan into easily understood and describable components called natural communities. Providing a new way to explore Michigan’s many environments, this book details natural communities ranging from patterned fen to volcanic bedrock glade and beyond. The descriptions are supplemented with distribution maps, vibrant photographs, and comprehensive lists of characteristic plant species. The authors suggest places to visit to further study each type of natural community and provide a comprehensive glossary of ecological terms, as well as a dichotomous key for aiding field identification. An invaluable resource, this book is meant to serve as a tool for those seeking to understand, describe, document, conserve, and restore the diversity of natural communities native to Michigan.
Stuart L. Pimm University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress QH541.P56 2002 | Dewey Decimal 577.16
Food webs are diagrams depicting which species interact or in other words, who eats whom. An understanding of the structure and function of food webs is crucial for any study of how an ecosystem works, including attempts to predict which communities might be more vulnerable to disturbance and therefore in more immediate need of conservation.
Although it was first published twenty years ago, Stuart Pimm's Food Webs remains the clearest introduction to the study of food webs. Reviewing various hypotheses in the light of theoretical and empirical evidence, Pimm shows that even the most complex food webs follow certain patterns and that those patterns are shaped by a limited number of biological processes, such as population dynamics and energy flow. Pimm provides a variety of mathematical tools for unravelling these patterns and processes, and demonstrates their application through concrete examples. For this edition, he has written a new foreword covering recent developments in the study of food webs and demonstrates their continuing importance to conservation biology.
The Historical Ecology Handbook makes essential connections between past and future ecosystems, bringing together leading experts to offer a much-needed introduction to the field of historical ecology and its practical application by on-the-ground restorationists. Chapters present individual techniques focusing on both culturally derived evidence and biological records, with each chapter offering essential background, tools, and resources needed for using the technique in a restoration effort. The book ends with four in-depth case studies that demonstrate how various combinations of techniques have been used in restoration projects. The Historical Ecology Handbook is a unique and groundbreaking guide to determining historic reference conditions of a landscape. It offers an invaluable compendium of tools and techniques, and will be essential reading for anyone working in the field of ecological restoration.
Until recently community ecology—a science devoted to understanding the patterns and processes of species distribution and abundance—focused mainly on specific and often limited scales of a single community. Since the 1970s, for example, metapopulation dynamics—studies of interacting groups of populations connected through movement—concentrated on the processes of population turnover, extinction, and establishment of new populations.
Metacommunities takes the hallmarks of metapopulation theory to the next level by considering a group of communities, each of which may contain numerous populations, connected by species interactions within communities and the movement of individuals between communities. In examining communities open to dispersal, the book unites a broad range of ecological theories, presenting some of the first empirical investigations and revealing the value of the metacommunity approach.
The collection of empirical, theoretical, and synthetic chapters in Metacommunities seeks to understand how communities work in fragmented landscapes. Encouraging community ecologists to rethink some of the leading theories of population and community dynamics, Metacommunities urges ecologists to expand the spatiotemporal scales of their research.
In Modern Nature,Lynn K. Nyhart traces the emergence of a “biological perspective” in late nineteenth-century Germany that emphasized the dynamic relationships among organisms, and between organisms and their environment. Examining this approach to nature in light of Germany’s fraught urbanization and industrialization, as well the opportunities presented by new and reforming institutions, she argues that rapid social change drew attention to the role of social relationships and physical environments in rendering a society—and nature—whole, functional, and healthy.
This quintessentially modern view of nature, Nyhart shows, stood in stark contrast to the standard naturalist’s orientation toward classification. While this new biological perspective would eventually grow into the academic discipline of ecology, Modern Nature locates its roots outside the universities, in a vibrant realm of populist natural history inhabited by taxidermists and zookeepers, schoolteachers and museum reformers, amateur enthusiasts and nature protectionists.
Probing the populist beginnings of animal ecology in Germany, Nyhart unites the history of popular natural history with that of elite science in a new way. In doing so, she brings to light a major orientation in late nineteenth-century biology that has long been eclipsed by Darwinism.
The Natural Heritage of Illinois is an engaging collection of ninety-three essays on the lands, waters, plants, and animals found in Illinois. Written in lively, accessible prose, the book discusses how wind, water, glaciers, earthquakes, fire, and people have shaped Illinois’ landforms, natural habitats, rivers and streams, and the ways in which native plants and animals, from individual species to entire ecosystems, have thrived, survived, or died out.
Author John E. Schwegman looks at the state’s early natural history, including its prehistoric vegetation and wildlife. He describes surviving remnants of formerly widespread species, such as biting horseflies so abundant they could kill a horse and flights of passenger pigeons dense enough to block the sun. The book addresses issues of species decline, the ways animals adapt to climate change and dwindling habitats, and the problem of invasive exotic species. Ecosystem preservation is discussed, and readers will witness prescribed burning techniques and volunteers aiding in natural land management.
Animal and plant conservation in Illinois is illustrated by essays that examine the efforts to save our dwindling Prairie Chicken population and to reintroduce river otters, the return of nesting bald eagles and cormorants to the state, the discovery of armadillos in southern Illinois, the pros and cons of feeding birds, and the biological significance of frog calls. Essays on Illinois’ native plants cover a wide range of topics, from defensive strategies to poisonous and edible species, prairie’s dependence on fire, how to recognize our wild roses, orchids, prairie grasses, and more. Full of fascinating information and expert knowledge, this book will prove invaluable to scholars, students, teachers, and casual nature lovers.
This illuminating and instructive book explores New Hampshire's stunning mosaic of natural communities. In photos, drawings, and accessible text, The Nature of New Hampshire takes you on a tour of landscapes as varied as alpine meadows, tidal marshes, riverbanks, forests, ponds, dunes, and cliffs. Readers will gain a new understanding and appreciation for the state's exceptional natural heritage. Natural communities are recurring associations of plants and animals found in particular physical environments. They are the dynamic habitats in which native species live. Based on more than twenty years of ecological research, the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau developed the classification of the nearly 200 natural community types presented in this essential guide. The communities are organized into eight categories: alpine and subalpine, rocky ground, forests, peatlands, swamps, marshes, river channels and floodplains, and seacoast.
With gorgeous photographs, informative text, and recommended places to visit, The Nature of New Hampshire provides an important common language for conservation planning and informed land stewardship. Whether used as a field guide or an at-home resource, this book will help readers reconnect with their surroundings, and understand the places they value.
Life itself as well as the entire human economy depends on goods and services provided by earth's natural systems. The processes of cleansing, recycling, and renewal, along with goods such as seafood, forage, and timber, are worth many trillions of dollars annually, and nothing could live without them. Yet growing human impacts on the environment are profoundly disrupting the functioning of natural systems and imperiling the delivery of these services.Nature's Services brings together world-renowned scientists from a variety of disciplines to examine the character and value of ecosystem services, the damage that has been done to them, and the consequent implications for human society. Contributors including Paul R. Ehrlich, Donald Kennedy, Pamela A. Matson, Robert Costanza, Gary Paul Nabhan, Jane Lubchenco, Sandra Postel, and Norman Myers present a detailed synthesis of our current understanding of a suite of ecosystem services and a preliminary assessment of their economic value. Chapters consider: major services including climate regulation, soil fertility, pollination, and pest control philosophical and economic issues of valuation case studies of specific ecosystems and services implication of recent findings and steps that must be taken to address the most pressing concerns Nature's Services represents one of the first efforts by scientists to provide an overview of the many benefits and services that nature offers to people and the extent to which we are all vitally dependent on those services. The book enhances our understanding of the value of the natural systems that surround us and can play an essential role in encouraging greater efforts to protect the earth's basic life-support systems before it is too late.
Creating institutions to meet the challenge of sustainability is arguably the most important task confronting society; it is also dauntingly complex. Ecological, economic, and social elements all play a role, but despite ongoing efforts, researchers have yet to succeed in integrating the various disciplines in a way that gives adequate representation to the insights of each.Panarchy, a term devised to describe evolving hierarchical systems with multiple interrelated elements, offers an important new framework for understanding and resolving this dilemma. Panarchy is the structure in which systems, including those of nature (e.g., forests) and of humans (e.g., capitalism), as well as combined human-natural systems (e.g., institutions that govern natural resource use such as the Forest Service), are interlinked in continual adaptive cycles of growth, accumulation, restructuring, and renewal. These transformational cycles take place at scales ranging from a drop of water to the biosphere, over periods from days to geologic epochs. By understanding these cycles and their scales, researchers can identify the points at which a system is capable of accepting positive change, and can use those leverage points to foster resilience and sustainability within the system.This volume brings together leading thinkers on the subject -- including Fikret Berkes, Buz Brock, Steve Carpenter, Carl Folke, Lance Gunderson, C.S. Holling, Don Ludwig, Karl-Goran Maler, Charles Perrings, Marten Scheffer, Brian Walker, and Frances Westley -- to develop and examine the concept of panarchy and to consider how it can be applied to human, natural, and human-natural systems. Throughout, contributors seek to identify adaptive approaches to management that recognize uncertainty and encourage innovation while fostering resilience.The book is a fundamental new development in a widely acclaimed line of inquiry. It represents the first step in integrating disciplinary knowledge for the adaptive management of human-natural systems across widely divergent scales, and offers an important base of knowledge from which institutions for adaptive management can be developed. It will be an invaluable source of ideas and understanding for students, researchers, and professionals involved with ecology, conservation biology, ecological economics, environmental policy, or related fields.
What species occur where, and why, and why some places harbor more species than others are basic questions for ecologists. Some species simply live in different places: fish live underwater; birds do not. Adaptations follow: most fish have gills; birds have lungs. But as Patterns in Nature reveals, not all patterns are so trivial.
Travel from island to island and the species change. Travel along any gradient—up a mountain, from forest into desert, from low tide to high tide on a shoreline —and again the species change, sometimes abruptly. What explains the patterns of these distributions? Some patterns might be as random as a coin toss. But as with a coin toss, can ecologists differentiate associations caused by a multiplicity of complex, idiosyncratic factors from those structured by some unidentified but simple mechanisms? Can simple mechanisms that structure communities be inferred from observations of which species associations naturally occur? For decades, community ecologists have debated about whether the patterns are random or show the geographically pervasive effect of competition between species. Bringing this vigorous debate up to date, this book undertakes the identification and interpretation of nature’s large-scale patterns of species co-occurrence to offer insight into how nature truly works.
Patterns in Nature explains the computing and conceptual advances that allow us to explore these issues. It forces us to reexamine assumptions about species distribution patterns and will be of vital importance to ecologists and conservationists alike.
Political Ecology in a Yucatec Maya Community
E. N. Anderson with Aurora Dzib Xihum de Cen, Felix Medina Tzuc, and Pastor Valdez Chale University of Arizona Press, 2005 Library of Congress F1435.3.A37P65 2005 | Dewey Decimal 305.89742
In Chunhuhub, the Conquest is not a done deal.
Unlike many small tropical towns, Chunhuhub in rural Quintana Roo, Mexico, has not been a helpless victim of international forces. Its people are descendants of heroic Mayans who stood off the Spanish invaders. People in Chunhuhub continue to live largely through subsistence farming of maize and vegetables, supplemented by commercial orchard, livestock, and field crop cultivation. They are, however, also self-consciously “modernizing” by seeking better educational and economic opportunities.
Political Ecology in a Yucatec Maya Community tells the story of Chunhuhub at the beginning of the twenty-first century, focusing on the resource management of plants and animals. E. N. Anderson and his Maya co-authors provide a detailed overview of Maya knowledge of and relationships with the environment, describing how these relationships have been maintained over the centuries and are being transformed by modernization. They show that the Quintana Roo Mayas have been working to find ways to continue ancient and sustainable methods of making a living while also introducing modern techniques that can improve that living. For instance, traditional subsistence agriculture is broadly sustainable at current population densities, but hunting is not, and modern mechanized agriculture has an uncertain future.
Bringing the voice of contemporary Mayas to every page, the authors offer an encyclopedic overview of the region: history, environment, agriculture, medicine, social relations, and economy. Whether discussing the fine points of beekeeping or addressing the problem of deforestation, they provide a remarkably detailed account that immerses readers in the landscape.
Maya of the Yucatán Peninsula have had more than their share of successes—and some failures as well—and as a study in political and cultural ecology, Political Ecology in a Yucatec Maya Community has much to tell us about tropical development and about the human condition. Their experience tells us that if we wish to have not only farms but also mahogany, wildlife, and ecotourism, then further efforts are needed.
As Anderson observes, traditional Maya management, with its immense knowledge base, remains the best—indeed, the only—effective system for making a living from the Yucatán’s harsh landscape. Political Ecology in a Yucatec Maya Community is a compelling testament to the daily life practices of modern peasant farmers that can provide us with clues about more efficient management techniques for the conservation of biodiversity worldwide.
A pioneering work, Species Diversity in Ecological Communities looks at biodiversity in its broadest geographical and historical contexts. For many decades, ecologists have studied only small areas over short time spans in the belief that diversity is regulated by local ecological interactions. However, to understand fully how communities come to have the diversity they do, and to properly address urgent conservation problems, scientists must consider global patterns of species richness and the historical events that shape both regional and local communities.
The authors use new theoretical developments, analyses, and case studies to explore the large-scale mechanisms that generate and maintain diversity. Case studies of various regions and organisms consider how local and regional processes interact to determine patterns of species richness. The contributors emphasize the fact that ecological processes acting quickly on a local scale do not erase the effects of regional and historical events that occur more slowly and less frequently.
This book compels scientists to rethink the foundations of community ecology and sets the stage for further research using comparative, experimental, geographical, and historical data.
Ecologists increasingly find themselves called upon to address the impacts of global change on biodiversity. Yet most studies of biodiversity focus solely on intensive, experimental analyses of localized ecological communities. In Untangling Ecological Complexity, Brian A. Maurer argues for a more pluralistic approach, showing how ecologists might enhance their ability to tackle global problems by incorporating broader spatial and temporal perspectives into their research.
Maurer begins by reviewing the strengths and limitations of reductionist experimental approaches. Although these studies have produced much valuable data, their small scale restricts the kinds of inferences that can be drawn from them. Maurer then demonstrates how statistical methods can be used to identify processes (such as dispersal or nonrandom extinction) that operate across broad geographic scales, yet which also have profound impacts on local ecosystems. This macroscopic perspective, Maurer suggests, provides a powerful tool for untangling ecological complexity.
Cattails grow in a marsh, pitcher plants grow in a bog, jewelweed grows in a swamp, right? Do sandhill cranes live among sandy hills? Frogs live near lakes and ponds, but can they live on prairies, too? What is a pine barrens, an oak opening, a calcareous fen? Wisconsin’s Natural Communities is an invitation to discover, explore, and understand Wisconsin’s richly varied natural environment, from your backyard or neighborhood park to stunning public preserves.Part 1 of the book explains thirty-three distinct types of natural communities in Wisconsin—their characteristic trees, beetles, fish, lichens, butterflies, reptiles, mammals, wildflowers—and the effects of geology, climate, and historical events on these habitats. Part 2 describes and maps fifty natural areas on public lands that are outstanding examples of these many different natural communities: Crex Meadows, Horicon Marsh, Black River Forest, Maribel Caves, Whitefish Dunes, the Blue Hills, Avoca Prairie, the Moquah Barrens and Chequamegon Bay, the Ridges Sanctuary, Cadiz Springs, Devil’s Lake, and many others.
Intended for anyone who has a love for the natural world, this book is also an excellent introduction for students. And, it provides landowners, public officials, and other stewards of our environment with the knowledge to recognize natural communities and manage them for future generations.