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Tuesday
May042010

New conservation books: May 2010

Every month we profile the latest interesting books that have been published in conservation and related fields. Our goal is to keep you updated about the newest titles. If you've read any of these books (or know about any of the authors), please give us your 2 cents.  Happy reading!

1) Climate Refugees, MIT Press

Collectif Argos
April 2010 | 349 pp.
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Publisher's Description: We have all seen photographs of neighborhoods wrecked and abandoned after a hurricane, of dry, cracked terrain that was once fertile farmland, of islands wiped out by a tsunami. But what happens to the people who live in these areas? According to the United Nations, some 150 million people will become climate refugees by 2050. The journalists and photographers of Collectif Argos have spent four years seeking out the first wave of people displaced by the consequences of climate change. Using the massive 2,500-page report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as their guide, these photographers and writers pinpointed nine locales around the world in which global warming has had a measureable impact. InClimate Refugees, they take us to these places—from the dust bowl that was once Lake Chad to the melting permafrost in Alaska—offering a first-hand look in words and photographs at the devastating effects of rising global temperatures on the daily lives of ordinary people.

2) The Wolf's Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades and Biodiversity, Island Press

Cristina Eisenberg
April 2010 | 272 pp. 
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Publisher's Description: 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.

3) The Atlas of Global Conservation, University of California Press

Jonathan Hoekstra, Jennifer L. Molnar, Michael Jennings, Carmen Revenga, Mark D. Spalding, Timothy M. Boucher, James C. Robertson, and Thomas J. Heibel, with Katherine Ellison
April, 2010 | 272 pp.
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Publisher's Description: Visually rich, up-to-date, and authoritative, The Atlas of Global Conservation is a premier resource for everyone concerned about the natural world. Drawing from the best data available, it is an unprecedented guide to the state of the planet and our most pressing resource and environmental issues. Top scientists at The Nature Conservancy, the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and water, have joined forces to create this extraordinary reference. It features 79 richly-detailed, fullcolor maps and other graphics paired with an informative, inviting discussion of major trends across the world's terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments. Interspersed throughout, essays by noted international authorities point the way forward in confronting some of our greatest conservation challenges.

4) Big Ecology: the Emergence of Ecosystem Science, Oxford University Press

David C. Coleman
May 2010 | 248 pp.
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Publisher's Description: In Big Ecology, David C. Coleman documents his historically fruitful ecological collaborations in the early years of studying large ecosystems in the United States. As Coleman explains, the concept of the ecosystem--a local biological community and its interactions with its environment--has given rise to many institutions and research programs, like the National Science Foundation's program for Long Term Ecological Research. Coleman's insider account of this important and fascinating trend toward big science takes us from the paradigm of collaborative interdisciplinary research, starting with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957, through the International Biological Program (IBP) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, to the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs of the 1980s.

5) Leopold's Shack and Rickett's Lab: the Emergence of Environmentalism, University of California Press

Michael J. Lannoo
May, 2010 | 216 pp.
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Publisher's Description: Aldo Leopold and Ed Ricketts are giants in the history of environmental awareness. They were born ten years and only about 200 miles apart and died within weeks of each other in 1948. Yet they never met and they didn't read each other's work. This illuminating book reveals the full extent of their profound and parallel influence both on science and our perception of natural world today. In a lively comparison, Michael J. Lannoo shows how deeply these two ecological luminaries influenced the emergence both of environmentalism and conservation biology. In particular, he looks closely at how they each derived their ideas about the possible future of humanity based on their understanding of natural communities. Leopold and Ricketts both believed that humans cannot place themselves above earth's ecosystems and continue to survive. In light of climate change, invasive species, and collapsing ecosystems, their most important shared idea emerges as a powerful key to the future.

6) Marine Ecosystems and Global Change, Oxford University Press

Edited by Manuel Barange, John G. Field, Roger P. Harris, Eileen E. Hofmann, R. Ian Perry and Francisco Werner
April 2010 | 464 pp. 
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Publisher's Description: This book advances knowledge of the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, and their past, present, and future responses to physical and anthropogenic forcing. It illustrates how climate and humans impact marine ecosystems, providing a comprehensive review of the physical and ecological processes that structure marine ecosystems as well as the observation, experimentation, and modelling approaches required for their study. Recognizing the interactive roles played by humans in using marine resources and in responding to global changes in marine systems, the book includes chapters on the human dimensions of marine ecosystem changes and on effective management approaches in this era of rapid change. A final section reviews the state of the art in predicting the responses of marine ecosystems to future global change scenarios with the intention of informing both future research agendas and marine management policy.

7) A Guide to the Native Plants of the New York City Region, Rutgers University Press

Margaret B. Gargiullo
March, 2010 | 338 pages w/ 131 illustrations
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Publisher's Description: In this unique guide, ecologist Margaret B. Gargiullo presents a detailed look at the full scope of flora that is native to this region and available for propagation. Geared specifically for landscape architects, designers, land managers, and restorationists, this book offers practical advice on how to increase the amount of indigenous flora growing in the metropolitan area, and in some cases, to reintroduce plants that have completely disappeared.

8) Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land, Island Press

Steven I. Apfelbaum, Alan W. Haney
April 2010 | 264 pp. 
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Publisher's Description: Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land is the first practical guidebook to give restorationists and would-be restorationists with little or no scientific training or background the “how to” information and knowledge they need to plan and implement ecological restoration activities. The book sets forth a step-by-step process for developing, implementing, monitoring, and refining on-the-ground restoration projects that is applicable to a wide range of landscapes and ecosystems.

The first part of the book introduces the process of ecological restoration in simple, easily understood language through specific examples drawn from the authors’ experience restoring their own lands in southern and central Wisconsin. It offers systematic, step-by-step strategies along with inspiration and benchmark experiences. The book’s second half shows how that same “thinking” and “doing” can be applied to North America’s major ecosystems and landscapes in any condition or scale.

9) The Craft of Scientific Communication, University of Chicago Press

Joseph E. Harmon and Allan G. Gross
April 2010 | 240 pp.
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Publisher's Description: In this remarkable guide, Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross have combined their many years of experience in the art of science writing to analyze published examples of how the best scientists communicate. Organized topically with information on the structural elements and the style of scientific communications, each chapter draws on models of past successes and failures to show students and practitioners how best to negotiate the world of print, online publication, and oral presentation.

10) Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey and the Changing Dynamics of Nature, Island Press

John Terborgh, James Estes
April 2010 | 456 pp.
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Publisher's Description: Trophic cascades—the top-down regulation of ecosystems by predators—are an essential aspect of ecosystem function and well-being. Trophic cascades are often drastically disrupted by human interventions—for example, when wolves and cougars are removed, allowing deer and beaver to become destructive—yet have only recently begun to be considered in the development of conservation and management strategies.

Trophic Cascades is the first comprehensive presentation of the science on this subject. It brings together some of the world's leading scientists and researchers to explain the importance of large animals in regulating ecosystems, and to relate that scientific knowledge to practical conservation.

11) The Lives of Ants, Oxford University Press

Laurent Keller and Elisabeth Gordon
February 2010 | 256 pp.
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Publisher's Description: With numerous black-and-white images and eight pages of color plates, The Lives of Ants provides a state-of-the-art look at what we now know about these fascinating creatures, portraying a world that is rich and full of surprises, and still full of unsolved mysteries. The authors illuminate the world of the ant, shedding light on such topics as the ant's impressive abilities in direction finding and quite amazing ingenuity when it comes to building their nests, finding supplies, or exploiting other members of the animal kingdom. They show, too, that they are capable of aggression and violence, which can embroil entire colonies in fratricidal or matricidal war. Readers also discover that ants are walking bundles of secretory glands (they have about forty of them), which enable them to emit from ten to twenty different pheromones, each of which has its own "meaning." In addition, ants can emit sound signals, made of a high-pitched squeak, and they can even dance, though not as intricately or as well as bees.

12) Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safair with a Cast of Trillions, U. of California Press

Mark W. Moffett
May, 2010 | 288 pp.
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Publisher's Description: Intrepid international explorer, biologist, and photographer Mark W. Moffett, "the Indiana Jones of entomology," takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and a faster tempo. Moffett's spectacular close-up photographs shrink us down to size, so that we can observe ants in familiar roles; warriors, builders, big-game hunters, and slave owners. We find them creating marketplaces and assembly lines and dealing with issues we think of as uniquely human--including hygiene, recycling, and warfare. Adventures among Ants introduces some of the world's most awe-inspiring species and offers a startling new perspective on the limits of our own perception.

13) Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians, UNC Press

Jennifer Frick Ruppert
April 2010 | 256 pp.
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Publisher's Description: The Southern Appalachians are home to a breathtakingly diverse array of living things--from delicate orchids to carnivorous pitcher plants, from migrating butterflies to flying squirrels, and from brawny black bears to more species of salamander than anywhere else in the world. Mountain Nature is a lively and engaging account of the ecology of this remarkable region. It explores the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians and the webs of interdependence that connect them.

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