Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity

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Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity brings together more than thirty leading scientists and conservation practitioners to consider a key question in environmental conservation: Is the conservation of large carnivores in ecosystems that evolved with their presence equivalent to the conservation of biological diversity within those systems? Building their discussions from empirical, long-term data sets, contributors including James A. Estes, David S. Maehr, Tim McClanahan, AndrFs J. Novaro, John Terborgh, and Rosie Woodroffe explore a variety of issues surrounding the link between predation and biodiversity: What is the evidence for or against the link? Is it stronger in marine systems? What are the implications for conservation strategies? Large Carnivores and the Conservation of Biodiversity is the first detailed, broad-scale examination of the empirical evidence regarding the role of large carnivores in biodiversity conservation in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It contributes to a much more precise and global understanding of when, where, and whether protecting and restoring top predators will directly contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Everyone concerned with ecology, biodiversity, or large carnivores will find this volume a unique and thought-provoking analysis and synthesis.
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About the author

JUSTINA C. RAY is director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. KENT H. REDFORD is vice president for international programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society. ROBERT S. STENECK is professor at the University of Maine's School of Marine Sciences at the Darling Marine Center, Walpole, Maine. JOEL BERGER is senior scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Island Press
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Published on
Apr 9, 2013
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Pages
526
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ISBN
9781597266093
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Wildlife
Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Nature / General
Science / Environmental Science
Science / Life Sciences / Biological Diversity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Dave Foreman is one of North America's most creative and effective conservation leaders, an outspoken proponent of protecting and restoring the earth's wildness, and a visionary thinker. Over the past 30 years, he has helped set direction for some of our most influential conservation organizations, served as editor and publisher of key conservation journals, and shared with readers his unique style and outlook in widely acclaimed books including The Big Outside and Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.
In Rewilding North America, Dave Foreman takes on arguably the biggest ecological threat of our time: the global extinction crisis. He not only explains the problem in clear and powerful terms, but also offers a bold, hopeful, scientifically credible, and practically achievable solution.
Foreman begins by setting out the specific evidence that a mass extinction is happening and analyzes how humans are causing it. Adapting Aldo Leopold's idea of ecological wounds, he details human impacts on species survival in seven categories, including direct killing, habitat loss and fragmentation, exotic species, and climate change. Foreman describes recent discoveries in conservation biology that call for wildlands networks instead of isolated protected areas, and, reviewing the history of protected areas, shows how wildlands networks are a logical next step for the conservation movement. The final section describes specific approaches for designing such networks (based on the work of the Wildlands Project, an organization Foreman helped to found) and offers concrete and workable reforms for establishing them. The author closes with an inspiring and empowering call to action for scientists and activists alike.
Rewilding North America offers both a vision and a strategy for reconnecting, restoring, and rewilding the North American continent, and is an essential guidebook for anyone concerned with the future of life on earth.
"Extraordinary. . . . Berger is a hero of biology who deserves the highest honors that science can bestow."—Tim Flannery, New York Review of Books

On the Tibetan Plateau, there are wild yaks with blood cells thinner than those of horses’ by half, enabling the endangered yaks to survive at 40 below zero and in the lowest oxygen levels of the mountaintops. But climate change is causing the snow patterns here to shift, and with the snows, the entire ecosystem. Food and water are vaporizing in this warming environment, and these beasts of ice and thin air are extraordinarily ill-equipped for the change. A journey into some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, Joel Berger’s Extreme Conservation is an eye-opening, steely look at what it takes for animals like these to live at the edges of existence. But more than this, it is a revealing exploration of how climate change and people are affecting even the most far-flung niches of our planet.

Berger’s quest to understand these creatures’ struggles takes him to some of the most remote corners and peaks of the globe: across Arctic tundra and the frozen Chukchi Sea to study muskoxen, into the Bhutanese Himalayas to follow the rarely sighted takin, and through the Gobi Desert to track the proboscis-swinging saiga. Known as much for his rigorous, scientific methods of developing solutions to conservation challenges as for his penchant for donning moose and polar bear costumes to understand the mindsets of his subjects more closely, Berger is a guide par excellence. He is a scientist and storyteller who has made his life working with desert nomads, in zones that typically require Sherpas and oxygen canisters. Recounting animals as charismatic as their landscapes are extreme, Berger’s unforgettable tale carries us with humor and expertise to the ends of the earth and back. But as his adventures show, the more adapted a species has become to its particular ecological niche, the more devastating climate change can be. Life at the extremes is more challenging than ever, and the need for action, for solutions, has never been greater.
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.

Chapters examine trophic cascades across the world’s major biomes, including intertidal habitats, coastal oceans, lakes, nearshore ecosystems, open oceans, tropical forests, boreal and temperate ecosystems, low arctic scrubland, savannas, and islands. Additional chapters consider aboveground/belowground linkages, predation and ecosystem processes, consumer control by megafauna and fire, and alternative states in ecosystems. An introductory chapter offers a concise overview of trophic cascades, while concluding chapters consider theoretical perspectives and comparative issues.

Trophic Cascades provides a scientific basis and justification for the idea that large predators and top-down forcing must be considered in conservation strategies, alongside factors such as habitat preservation and invasive species. It is a groundbreaking work for scientists and managers involved with biodiversity conservation and protection.
At dawn on a brutally cold January morning, Joel Berger crouched in the icy grandeur of the Teton Range. It had been three years since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone after a sixty-year absence, and members of a wolf pack were approaching a herd of elk. To Berger’s utter shock, the elk ignored the wolves as they went in for the kill. The brutal attack that followed—swift and bloody—led Berger to hypothesize that after only six decades, the elk had forgotten to fear a species that had survived by eating them for hundreds of millennia.

Berger’s fieldwork that frigid day raised important questions that would require years of travel and research to answer: Can naive animals avoid extinction when they encounter reintroduced carnivores? To what extent is fear culturally transmitted? And how can a better understanding of current predator-prey behavior help demystify past extinctions and inform future conservation?

The Better to Eat You With is the chronicle of Berger’s search for answers. From Yellowstone’s elk and wolves to rhinos living with African lions and moose coexisting with tigers and bears in Asia, Berger tracks cultures of fear in animals across continents and climates, engaging readers with a stimulating combination of natural history, personal experience, and conservation. Whether battling bureaucracy in the statehouse or fighting subzero wind chills in the field, Berger puts himself in the middle of the action. The Better to Eat You With invites readers to join him there. The thrilling tales he tells reveal a great deal not only about survival in the animal kingdom but also the process of doing science in foreboding conditions and hostile environments.
From the host of the Travel Channel’s “The Wild Within.”

A hunt for the American buffalo—an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination.
 
In 2005, Steven Rinella won a lottery permit to hunt for a wild buffalo, or American bison, in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds—there’s only a 2 percent chance of drawing the permit, and fewer than 20 percent of those hunters are successful—Rinella managed to kill a buffalo on a snow-covered mountainside and then raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Throughout these adventures, Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years’ worth of buffalo hunters in North America, as well as the buffalo’s place in the American experience. At the time of the Revolutionary War, North America was home to approximately 40 million buffalo, the largest herd of big mammals on the planet, but by the mid-1890s only a few hundred remained. Now that the buffalo is on the verge of a dramatic ecological recovery across the West, Americans are faced with the challenge of how, and if, we can dare to share our land with a beast that is the embodiment of the American wilderness.

American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella’s hunt. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo’s past, present, and future: to the Bering Land Bridge, where scientists search for buffalo bones amid artifacts of the New World’s earliest human inhabitants; to buffalo jumps where Native Americans once ran buffalo over cliffs by the thousands; to the Detroit Carbon works, a “bone charcoal” plant that made fortunes in the late 1800s by turning millions of tons of buffalo bones into bone meal, black dye, and fine china; and even to an abattoir turned fashion mecca in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where a depressed buffalo named Black Diamond met his fate after serving as the model for the American nickel.

 Rinella’s erudition and exuberance, combined with his gift for storytelling, make him the perfect guide for a book that combines outdoor adventure with a quirky blend of facts and observations about history, biology, and the natural world. Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, American Buffalo tells us as much about ourselves as Americans as it does about the creature who perhaps best of all embodies the American ethos.
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