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Exploring Values and Priorities in Conservation

Today the world faces the prospect of a devastating mass extinction, as species disappear at a rate that is many times faster than at any previous time in the earth's history.  Finding ways to preserve the planet's rich variety of species is the challenge being taken up by conservation biologists, scientists who use their knowledge of ecology, genetics, and population dynamics to develop strategies for conserving biodiversity based on scientific principles.
The conservation and management of wild natural resources stands at a crossroads.   On the one hand, there are the stunning successes of the focus of species, of which the protection of endangered species is the pinnacle.   On the other hand, stands the need for conservation to embrace landscapes and ecosystems, and to be more anticipatory and forward looking, rather than responding to manifest endangerment and acute crisis.  These needs are the emerging agenda of conservation ecology.

An excellent compendium of articles revolving around the issue of tropical forest habitat fragmentation and its effects on the biology of the planet.   Thirty-three contributions cover the scale and economics of tropical deforestation; physical processes and edge effects; tropical forest faunas; plants and plant-animal interactions; restoration and management of fragmented landscapes; site selection and design of tropical nature reserves; and summary and new perspectives.  Book News, Inc.

In this pioneering application of island biogeography theory, Harris presents an alternative to current practices of timber harvesting.    "Harris pulls together many threads of biological thinking about islands and their effect on plant and animal survival and evolution.    He weaves these threads into a model for managing forest lands in a manner that might serve both our short-term economic and social needs.

This book applies principles of climate and geography to describe and characterize the major ecological zones of the Earth - continental as well as oceanic.   Robert Bailey's system for classifying ecoregions has had a major influence on the United States Government's decision to adopt an ecosystem-based approach to managing public land, and has been adopted by major organizations such as the Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy.

Thirty-three essay-style contributions discuss scientific needs, application strategies and techniques, and the shape and content of a new conservation science that takes into account the changes in the fundamental science of ecology and the real world in which it must be applied. The collection provides a framework for future research and the development of stronger links between ecology and public policy, as well as case studies ranging from freshwater to arid, and from subtropical to boreal.  Book News, Inc.

Wilson (entomology, Harvard U., and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes) conducts a tour through time, tracing the processes that create new species in bursts of adaptive radiation.   He identifies crises in ecosystems around the globe and discusses diverse examples, making a plea for specific actions that will enhance rather than diminish the quality of life on earth.    Includes b&w illustrations throughout, 16 pages of color plates, and a glossary.  Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Edward O. Wilson -- Harvard University professor, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, champion of biodiversity -- is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the Twentieth century.   In this autobiography, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define.   "One of the greatest scientific autobiographies ever written." --Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams

A lively examination of the current state of endangered species management, exploring the economics of different conservation techniques and the practical possibilities for using the environment while sustaining it.  Excellent color photographs and maps.  Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

A Biology of Numbers and Difference

by Kevin Gaston
Paperback (1996)
A Reference Handbook

(Contemporary World Issues)

by Anne Becher
Hardcover (1998)
Contains 14 contributions, written by an international group of biologists, ecologists, zoologists, and other scientists, exploring the basic principles of biodiversity including its measurement, its spatial and temporal patterns, and the ways in which its study should inform conservation biology. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or. Explores the multiple issues surrounding biological diversity with an overview, a chronology, biographical sketches, statistics, documents, a directly of organizations along with their web sites, a glossary without pronunciation guides, and a listing of print and electronic sources of information. Suitable for secondary students, non-specialist journalists, and general readers. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Written for conservation biologists, lawmakers, policy planners, business people, and students, this thorough, detailed text discusses the concept of biodiversity as both more subtle and more difficult to employ in practical situations than is commonly appreciated and explores the role that humans play in creating practical definitions of the term.  Book News, Inc., Portland, OR