Why Invasive Species Aren't All Bad
Author: Ken Thompson
Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd
Where do camels belong? You may be surprised to learn that they evolved and lived for tens of millions of years in North America-and also that the leek, national symbol of Wales, was a Roman import to Britain, as were chickens, rabbits and pheasants. These classic examples highlight the issues of "native" and "invasive" species. We have all heard the horror stories of invasives. But do we need to fear invaders? In this controversial book, Ken Thompson asks: Why do very few introduced species succeed, why do so few of them go on to cause trouble, and what is the real cost of invasions? He discusses, too, whether fear of invasive species could be getting in the way of conserving biodiversity and responding to climate change.
The story and science of invasive species
Author: Ken Thompson
Publisher: Profile Books
Where do camels belong? In the Arab world may seem the obvious answer, but they are relative newcomers there. They evolved in North America, retain their greatest diversity in South America, and the only remaining wild dromedaries are in Australia. This is a classic example of the contradictions of 'native' and 'invasive' species, a hot issue right now, as the flip-side of biodiversity. We have all heard the horror stories of invasives, from Japanese knotweed that puts fear into the heart of gardeners to brown tree snakes that have taken over the island of Guam. But do we need to fear invaders? And indeed, can we control them, and do we choose the right targets? Ken Thompson puts forward a fascinating array of narratives to explore what he sees as the crucial question - why only a minority of introduced species succeed, and why so few of them go on to cause trouble. He discusses, too, whether our fears could be getting in the way of conserving biodiversity, and responding to the threat of climate change.
What Everyone Needs to Know?
Author: Daniel Simberloff
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Of the 7,000 estimated non-native species present in North America, approximately 1,000 are invasive. Clearly, invasive species are in the minority, but their small numbers don't keep them from causing billions of dollars in economic and ecological harm each year. Policymakers and ecologists continue to try to figure out which species might be harmful, which invasive species are doing the most damage, and which of these might respond best to eradication efforts. Invasive species reports and case studies are prevalent in political, environmental, and scientific news cycles, and a significant portion of the public is concerned about the issue. In Invasive Species: What Everyone Needs to Know?, Simberloff will first cover basic topics such as how non-native species are introduced, which areas have incurred the most biological invasions, and how the rates of biological invasions have shifted in recent years. He then moves on to the direct and indirect impacts of the impacts of invasive species on various ecosystems, such as habitat and resource competition, how invasive species transmit pathogens, and how introduced plants and animals can modify a habitat to favor other non-native species. Simberloff's final chapters will discuss the evolution of invasive species, the policies we currently have in place to manage them, and future prospects for controlling their spread. The book will also contain a section dedicated to the more controversial topics surrounding invasive species: invasive natives, useful non-native species, animal rights versus species rights, and non-native species' impacts on the biodiversity of an ecosystem. What Everyone Needs to Know? is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press. is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation
Author: Fred Pearce
"Published under the auspices of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations"--Colophon.
An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion
Author: Alan Burdick
In this search for both scientific answers and ecological authenticity, the author tours the front lines of ecological invasion in the company of world-class scientists to explore the disparity between what is nature and what is natural.
The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives
Author: Timothy Lee Scott
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Category: Health & Fitness
The first book to demonstrate how plants originally considered harmful to the environment actually restore Earth’s ecosystems and possess powerful healing properties • Explains how invasive plants enhance biodiversity, purify ecosystems, and revitalize the land • Provides a detailed look at the healing properties of 25 of the most common invasive plants Most of the invasive plant species under attack for disruption of local ecosystems in the United States are from Asia, where they play an important role in traditional healing. In opposition to the loud chorus of those clamoring for the eradication of all these plants that, to the casual observer, appear to be a threat to native flora, Timothy Scott shows how these opportunistic plants are restoring health to Earth’s ecosystems. Far less a threat to the environment than the cocktails of toxic pesticides used to control them, these invasive plants perform an essential ecological function that serves to heal both the land on which they grow and the human beings who live upon it. These plants remove toxic residues in the soil, providing detoxification properties that can help heal individuals. Invasive Plant Medicine demonstrates how these “invasives” restore natural balance and biodiversity to the environment and examines the powerful healing properties offered by 25 of the most common invasive plants growing in North America and Europe. Each plant examined includes a detailed description of its physiological actions and uses in traditional healing practices; tips on harvesting, preparation, and dosage; contraindications; and any possible side effects. This is the first book to explore invasive plants not only for their profound medical benefits but also with a deep ecological perspective that reveals how plant intelligence allows them to flourish wherever they grow.
How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction
Author: Chris D. Thomas
Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.
A Curious History of Latin Names
Author: John Wright
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Latin names ? frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel ? have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century. Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalidus ? 'dirty old man'? What were naturalists thinking when they called a beetle Agra katewinsletae, a genus of fish Batman, and a Trilobite Han solo? Why is zoology replete with names such as Chloris chloris chloris (the greenfinch), and Gorilla gorilla gorilla (a species of, well gorilla)? The Naming of the Shrew will unveil these mysteries, exploring the history, celebrating their poetic nature and revealing how naturalists sometimes get things so terribly wrong. With wonderfully witty style and captivating narrative, this book will make you see Latin names in a whole new light.
A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration
Author: Tao Orion
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Invasive species are everywhere, from forests and prairies to mountaintops and river mouths. Their rampant nature and sheer numbers appear to overtake fragile native species and forever change the ecosystems that they depend on. Concerns that invasive species represent significant threats to global biodiversity and ecological integrity permeate conversations from schoolrooms to board rooms, and concerned citizens grapple with how to rapidly and efficiently manage their populations. These worries have culminated in an ongoing “war on invasive species,” where the arsenal is stocked with bulldozers, chainsaws, and herbicides put to the task of their immediate eradication. In Hawaii, mangrove trees (Avicennia spp.) are sprayed with glyphosate and left to decompose on the sandy shorelines where they grow, and in Washington, helicopters apply the herbicide Imazapyr to smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growing in estuaries. The “war on invasive species” is in full swing, but given the scope of such potentially dangerous and ecologically degrading eradication practices, it is necessary to question the very nature of the battle. Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers a much-needed alternative perspective on invasive species and the best practices for their management based on a holistic, permaculture-inspired framework. Utilizing the latest research and thinking on the changing nature of ecological systems, Beyond the War on Invasive Species closely examines the factors that are largely missing from the common conceptions of invasive species, including how the colliding effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and changes in land use and management contribute to their proliferation. Beyond the War on Invasive Species demonstrates that there is more to the story of invasive species than is commonly conceived, and offers ways of understanding their presence and ecosystem effects in order to make more ecologically responsible choices in land restoration and biodiversity conservation that address the root of the invasion phenomenon. The choices we make on a daily basis—the ways we procure food, shelter, water, medicine, and transportation—are the major drivers of contemporary changes in ecosystem structure and function; therefore, deep and long-lasting ecological restoration outcomes will come not just from eliminating invasive species, but through conscientious redesign of these production systems.
The Global Threat of Avian Flu
Author: Mike Davis
Publisher: New Press, The
Avian influenza is a viral asteroid on a collision course with humanity. In 1918, a pandemic strain of influenza killed at least 40 million people in three months. Now, leading researchers believe, another world catastrophe is imminent. A virus of astonishing lethality, known as H5N1, has become entrenched in the poultry and wild bird populations of East Asia. It kills two out of every three people it infects. The World Health Organization warns that it is on the verge of mutating into a super-contagious pandemic form. In this urgent and extraordinarily frightening book, Mike Davis reconstructs the scientific and political history of a viral apocalypse in the making, exposing the central roles of agribusiness and the fast-food industries, abetted by corrupt governments, in creating the ecological conditions for the emergence of this new plague. He also details the scandalous failure of the Bush administration, obsessed with hypothetical "bio-terrorism," to safeguard Americans from the greatest biological threat since HIV/AIDS.
Understanding Your Garden
Author: Ken Thompson
Publisher: Random House
How did plants get to be the way they are? Why do they have pretty flowers? How different would things have been if the wrong kind of pollinators had got the upper hand? Why are Latin names so complicated, and why Latin anyway? Why is a weed-free lawn an ecological impossibility? This entertaining book gives the answers to these questions and many more. It shows how a little botanical knowledge can bring not just better results but peace of mind, and that losing sleep over such traditional gardening bogeys as weeds, pests and pruning is not necessarily the best course. In this new edition Ken Thompson grabs the opportunity to explain why any old plant will do for companion planting - but also that it can do as much harm as good - and why planting by the moon is complete and utter nonsense.
The Thinking Person’s Guide to Good Gardening
Author: Ken Thompson
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
How are birds linked to house prices? How can a gardener improve the flavour of their vegetables? Do wildflowers really thrive in poor soil? In this collection of articles from The Telegraph, biologist and gardening columnist Ken Thompson takes a scientific look at some of the greater – and lesser – questions faced by gardeners everywhere in a bid to sort the genuine wisdom from the hokum. What is the ideal temperature for a compost heap? What do bees do that improves strawberries? Why are gardeners in literature always such dummies? This is an expert’s gardening miscellany, aimed at making you not necessarily a better gardener, but probably a far more thoughtful one.
How We Live with Nature's Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species
Author: Kelsi Nagy,Phillip David Johnson (II)
In Trash Animals, a diverse group of environmental writers explore the natural history of wildlife species deemed filthy, invasive, or worthless, highlighting the vexed relationship humans have with such creatures. Each essay focuses on a so-called trash species—gulls, coyotes, carp, and magpies, among others—examining the biology and behavior of each in contrast to the assumptions widely held about them.
Author: Walter Alvarez
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sixty-five million years ago, a comet or asteroid larger than Mount Everest slammed into the Earth, inducing an explosion equivalent to the detonation of a hundred million hydrogen bombs. Vaporized detritus blasted through the atmosphere upon impact, falling back to Earth around the globe. Disastrous environmental consequences ensued: a giant tsunami, continent-scale wildfires, darkness, and cold, followed by sweltering greenhouse heat. When conditions returned to normal, half the plant and animal genera on Earth had perished. This horrific chain of events is now widely accepted as the solution to a great scientific mystery: what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Walter Alvarez, one of the Berkeley scientists who discovered evidence of the impact, tells the story behind the development of the initially controversial theory. It is a saga of high adventure in remote locations, of arduous data collection and intellectual struggle, of long periods of frustration ended by sudden breakthroughs, of friendships made and lost, and of the exhilaration of discovery that forever altered our understanding of Earth's geological history.
How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive
Author: Jared Diamond
Publisher: Penguin UK
From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations. Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future. What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island? What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids? Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the temples at Angkor Wat? Bringing together new evidence from a startling range of sources and piecing together the myriad influences, from climate to culture, that make societies self-destruct, Jared Diamond's Collapse also shows how - unlike our ancestors - we can benefit from our knowledge of the past and learn to be survivors. 'A grand sweep from a master storyteller of the human race' Daily Mail 'Riveting, superb, terrifying' Observer 'Gripping ... the book fulfils its huge ambition, and Diamond is the only man who could have written it' Economist 'This book shines like all Diamond's work' Sunday Times Jared Diamond (b. 1937) is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.
How Animals Shaped Human History
Author: Brian Fagan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Animals, and our ever-changing relationship with them, have left an indelible mark on human history. From the dawn of our existence, animals and humans have been constantly redefining their relationship with one another, and entire civilizations have risen and fallen upon this curious bond we share with our fellow fauna. Brian Fagan unfolds this fascinating story from the first wolf who wandered into our prehistoric ancestors' camp and found companionship, to empires built on the backs of horses, donkeys, and camels, to the industrial age when some animals became commodities, often brutally exploited, and others became pets, nurtured and pampered, sometimes to absurd extremes. Through an in-depth analysis of six truly transformative human-animal relationships, Fagan shows how our habits and our very way of life were considerably and irreversibly altered by our intimate bond with animals. Among other stories, Fagan explores how herding changed human behavior; how the humble donkey helped launch the process of globalization; and how the horse carried a hearty band of nomads across the world and toppled the emperor of China. With characteristic care and penetrating insight, Fagan reveals the profound influence that animals have exercised on human history and how, in fact, they often drove it.
How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution
Author: Menno Schilthuizen
*Carrion crows in the Japanese city of Sendai have learned to use passing traffic to crack nuts. *Lizards in Puerto Rico are evolving feet that better grip surfaces like concrete. *Europe’s urban blackbirds sing at a higher pitch than their rural cousins, to be heardover the din of traffic. How is this happening? Menno Schilthuizen is one of a growing number of “urban ecologists” studying how our manmade environments are accelerating and changing the evolution of the animals and plants around us. In Darwin Comes to Town, he takes us around the world for an up-close look at just how stunningly flexible and swift-moving natural selection can be. With human populations growing, we’re having an increasing impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlap as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions: they must manage in the city’s hotter climate (the “urban heat island”); they need to be able to live either in the semidesert of the tall, rocky, and cavernous structures we call buildings or in the pocket-like oases of city parks (which pose their own dangers, including smog and free-rangingdogs and cats); traffic causes continuous noise, a mist of fine dust particles, and barriers to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; food sources are mainly human-derived. And yet, as Schilthuizen shows, the wildlife sharing these spaces with us is not just surviving, but evolving ways of thriving. Darwin Comes toTown draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.
Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things
Author: M. R. O'Connor
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
**A Library Journal Best Book of 2015 ** **A Christian Science Monitor Top Ten Book of September** In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O'Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations, panther-tracking in Florida swamps, ancient African rainforests, Neanderthal tool-making, and cryogenic DNA banks, O'Connor investigates the philosophical questions of an age in which we "play god" with earth's biodiversity. Each chapter in this beautifully written book focuses on a unique species--from the charismatic northern white rhinoceros to the infamous passenger pigeon--and the people entwined in the animals' fates. Incorporating natural history and evolutionary biology with conversations with eminent ethicists, O'Connor's narrative goes to the heart of the human enterprise: What should we preserve of wilderness as we hurtle toward a future in which technology is present in nearly every aspect of our lives? How can we co-exist with species when our existence and their survival appear to be pitted against one another?
Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle
Author: Tristan Donovan
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
"[An] entertaining jaunt through city wildlife." —Kirkus Reviews We tend to think of cities as a realm apart, somehow separate from nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. In Feral Cities, Tristan Donovan digs below the urban gloss to uncover the wild creatures that we share our streets and homes with, and profiles the brave and fascinating people who try to manage them. Along the way readers will meet the wall-eating snails that are invading Miami, the boars that roam Berlin, and the monkey gangs of Cape Town. From feral chickens and carpet-roaming bugs to coyotes hanging out in sandwich shops and birds crashing into skyscrapers, Feral Cities takes readers on a journey through streets and neighborhoods that are far more alive than we often realize, shows how animals are adjusting to urban living, and asks what messages the wildlife in our metropolises have for us. Tristan Donovan is the author of two widely praised books, Replay: The History of Video Games and Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World. His journalism has appeared in many major newspapers, magazines, and web sites. He has a degree in ecology.