FRAGILE WEB: What Next for Nature?

Book number: 90833 Product format: Paperback Author: EDITED BY JONATHAN SILVERTOWN

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Bibliophile price £4.50
Published price £14.99

Published by the Natural History Museum the author is internationally known for his research on the evolution and ecology of plants. Nature's Web is solar powered driven by the energy that land plants and ocean phytoplankton capture from sunlight and lock away in carbon compounds in their cells. Plants and phytoplankton not only feed all life on the planet, but by capturing carbon dioxide they help control the concentration of this gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Their capacity to lock-up carbon is now overwhelmed by the amount that we are returning to the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil which now threatens to heat our world to levels that will change it beyond recognition. Regulation of the climate is just one of the services that biodiversity provides to humanity. Geologists of the future may look back at this mass extinction as equivalent to the one that ended the reign of the reptiles. A quarter of our mammals are threatened, 40% of amphibians and perhaps a quarter of land plants. All major ocean fisheries are over-exploited and many have collapsed. Life in freshwaters is threatened by pollution, over-extraction of water for human use, and by invasions of non-native species that destroy the fabric of nature's web. Climate change is tugging at the links in the web, threatening to dislocate relationships with unpredictable consequences. What can we do? We must halt deforestation, restore habitats and fisheries, create and protect reserves for nature, find sustainable livelihoods for the poor and feed our growing population without endangering biodiversity. Homo sapiens or 'wise human' should be up to the task. The authors of this book are passionate about biodiversity in this book of science distilled from independent studies and subjected to peer review. The book begins with taking a look at breakfast which contains the product of many species, the human ecological footprint including population density, land transformation, electrical power infrastructure and access to land. World population projections, a warning from Easter Island way back in 1772 with the discovery of the remains of over a thousand chicken houses standing testament to the large human population that the island once supported and of course those famous statues. There are geological timescale charts, superb diagrams, fact boxes, colour photographs of astonishing occurrences like a silent seashore dogwhelk inserting its proboscis into one of the smaller mussels attached to the rocks, gorging on its soft parts. Here are coal swamps, a chart of the evolutionary radiation of mammals and an evolution atlas, an explanation of how the Amazon basin became so diverse and extraordinary wildlife pictures of butterflies and insects and mammals and leaves and crops and amphibians in crisis. Beautifully presented with hundreds of pictures, 192pp in large softback.

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ISBN 9780565092610

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