Beginning with an overview of how human civilization has altered the face of the Earth, particularly by the destruction of forests, the book details the startling consequences of these actions. Rice provides compelling reasons for government officials, economic leaders, and the public to support efforts to save threatened and endangered plants. Global campaigns to solve environmental problems with plants, such as the development of green roofs and the Green Belt Movement—a women's organization in Kenya that empowers communities worldwide to protect the environment—show readers that efforts to save wild plants can be successful and beneficial to the economic well-being of nations.
Through current scientific evidence, readers see that plants are vital to the ecological health of our planet and understand what can be done to lead to a better—and greener—future
Benefits of plants:Help modulate greenhouse gases Produce almost all oxygen in the air Create cool shade that reduces energy costs Prevent floods, droughts, and soil erosion Produce all of the food in the world Create and preserve soil Create natural habitats Heal the landscape after natural and human disasters
Highlighting key principles in ecology—from species extinction to the sun’s role in powering ecosystems—each chapter introduces a general question, illustrates that question with real-world examples, and links it to pressing ecological issues in which humans play a central role, such as the spread of invasive species, climate change, overfishing, and biodiversity conservation. While other introductions to ecology are rooted in complex theory, math, or practice and relegate discussions of human environmental impacts and their societal implications to sidebars and appendices, Why Ecology Matters interweaves these important discussions throughout. It is a book rooted in our contemporary world, delving into ecological issues that are perennial, timeless, but could not be more timely.
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.
No other ecological restoration book leads by example and first-hand experience likethis one. The authors encourage readers to champion restoration of ecosystems close to where they live . . . at home, on farms and ranches, in parks and preserves. It provides an essential bridge for people from all walks of life and all levels of experience—from land trust member property stewards to agency personnel responsible for restoring lands in their care—and represents a unique and important contribution to the literature on restoration.