Patagonia. The name connotes the exotic and a distance that seems nearly mythical. Tucked toward the toe of South America, this largely unsettled landscape is among the most varied and breathtaking in the world-aching in its beauty as it sweeps from the Andes through broad, arid steppes to pristine beaches and down to a famously violent sea. It is also home to a vast array of rare wildlife as diverse and fascinating as the region itself.
Act III in Patagonia is the first book to take an in-depth look at wildlife and human interaction in this spectacular area of the world. Written by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the book is unique in its concentration on the long Patagonian shoreline--populated by colorful cormorants, penguins, elephant seals, dolphins, sea lions, and numerous species of whale--and an increasing number of human beings.
Threatened by overfishing, invasive species, artificially abundant predators, and overgrazing, the Southern Cone of Patagonia is now the scene of a little-known conservation drama distinguished by the efforts of a dedicated group of local and foreign scientists determined to save one of the Earth's least-inhabited places. From tracking elephant seals in the Atlantic to following flamingos in the Andes, Act III in Patagonia takes readers to the sites where real-life field science is taking place. It further illuminates the ecology of the region through a history that reaches from the time of the Tehuelche Indians known by Magellan, Drake, and Darwin to the present.
Conway has helped to establish more than a dozen wildlife reserves in South America and is thus able not only to tell Patagonia's history, but to address its future. He brings a wealth of knowledge about Patagonia and its wildlife and responds to the difficult questions of how the interests of humans and wildlife are best balanced. He tells of the exciting collaborations among the Wildlife Conservation Society and its national and provincial partners to develop region-wide programs to save wildlife in steppes, coast, and sea, demonstrating that, with public support, there is hope for this stunning corner of the world. Though singular in their details, the conservation efforts Conway spotlights are a microcosm of what is happening in dozens of sites around the world.
Widespread human alteration of the planet has led many scholars to claim that we have entered a new epoch in geological time: the Anthropocene, an age dominated by humanity. This ethnography is the first to directly engage the Anthropocene, tackling its problems and paradoxes from the vantage point of the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Drawing from extensive ethnographic research, Nicholas Kawa examines how pre-Columbian Amerindians and contemporary rural Amazonians have shaped their environment, describing in vivid detail their use and management of the region’s soils, plants, and forests. At the same time, he highlights the ways in which the Amazonian environment resists human manipulation and control—a vital reminder in this time of perceived human dominance. Written in engaging, accessible prose, Amazonia in the Anthropocene offers an innovative contribution to debates about humanity’s place on the planet, encouraging deeper ecocentric thinking and a more inclusive vision of ecology for the future.
Winner, Southwest Book Award, Border Regional Library Association, 2015
The Texas of vast open spaces inhabited by independent, self-reliant men and women may be more of a dream than a reality for the state’s largely urban population, but it still exists in the Big Bend. One of the most sparsely settled areas of the United States, the Big Bend attracts people who are willing to forego many modern conveniences for a lifestyle that proclaims “don’t fence me in.” Marcia Hatfield Daudistel and Bill Wright believe that the character traits exemplified by folks in the Big Bend—including self-sufficiency, friendliness, and neighborliness—go back to the founding of the state. In this book, they introduce us to several dozen Big Bend residents—old and young, long-settled and recently arrived, racially diverse—who show us what it means to be an authentic Texan.
Interviewing people in Marathon, Big Bend National Park, Terlingua, Redford, Presidio, Alpine, Marfa, Valentine, Balmorhea, Limpia Crossing, and Fort Davis, Daudistel and Wright discover the reasons why residents of the Big Bend make this remote area of Texas their permanent home. In talking to ranchers and writers, entrepreneurs and artists, people living off the grid and urban refugees, they find a common willingness to overcome difficulties through individual skill and initiative. As one interviewee remarks, you have to have a lot of “try” in you to make a life in the Big Bend. Bill Wright’s photographs of the people and landscapes are a perfect complement to the stories of these authentic Texans. Together, these voices and images offer the most complete, contemporary portrait of the Texas Big Bend.
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