Author: Eli Greenbaum
Publisher: University Press of New England
Release Date: 2017-11-07
Emerald Labyrinth is a scientist and adventurer's chronicle of years exploring the rainforests of sub-Saharan Africa. The richly varied habitats of the Democratic Republic of the Congo offer a wealth of animal, plant, chemical, and medical discoveries. But the country also has a deeply troubled colonial past and a complicated political present. Author Eli Greenbaum is a leading expert in sub-Saharan herpetology - snakes, lizards, and frogs - who brings a sense of wonder to the question of how science works in the twenty-first century. Along the way he comes face to face with spitting cobras, silverback mountain gorillas, wild elephants, and the teenaged armies of AK-47-toting fighters engaged in the continent's longest-running war. As a bellwether of the climate and biodiversity crises now facing the planet, the Congo holds the key to our planet's future. Writing in the tradition of books like The Lost City of Z, Greenbaum seeks out the creatures struggling to survive in a war-torn, environmentally threatened country. Emerald Labyrinth is an extraordinary book about the enormous challenges and hard-won satisfactions of doing science in one of the least known, least hospitable places on earth.
If you could bring back just one animal from the past, what would you choose? It can be anyone or anything from history, from the King of the Dinosaurs, T. rex, to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, and beyond. De-extinction – the ability to bring extinct species back to life – is fast becoming reality. Around the globe, scientists are trying to de-extinct all manner of animals, including the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and a bizarre species of flatulent frog. But de-extinction is more than just bringing back the dead. It's a science that can be used to save species, shape evolution and sculpt the future of life on our planet. In Bring Back the King, scientist and comedy writer Helen Pilcher goes on a quest to identify the perfect de-extinction candidate. Along the way, she asks if Elvis could be recreated from the DNA inside a pickled wart, investigates whether it's possible to raise a pet dodo, and considers the odds of a 21st century Neanderthal turning heads on public transport. Pondering the practicalities and the point of de-extinction, Bring Back the King is a witty and wry exploration of what is bound to become one of the hottest topics in conservation – if not in science as a whole – in the years to come. READ THIS BOOK – the King commands it.
Author: Christopher Kemp
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2017-10-23
The tiny, lungless Thorius salamander from southern Mexico, thinner than a match and smaller than a quarter. The lushly white-coated Saki, an arboreal monkey from the Brazilian rainforests. The olinguito, a native of the Andes, which looks part mongoose, part teddy bear. These fantastic species are all new to science—at least newly named and identified; but they weren’t discovered in the wild, instead, they were unearthed in the drawers and cavernous basements of natural history museums. As Christopher Kemp reveals in The Lost Species, hiding in the cabinets and storage units of natural history museums is a treasure trove of discovery waiting to happen. With Kemp as our guide, we go spelunking into museum basements, dig through specimen trays, and inspect the drawers and jars of collections, scientific detectives on the hunt for new species. We discover king crabs from 1906, unidentified tarantulas, mislabeled Himalayan landsnails, an unknown rove beetle originally collected by Darwin, and an overlooked squeaker frog, among other curiosities. In each case, these specimens sat quietly for decades—sometimes longer than a century—within the collections of museums, before sharp-eyed scientists understood they were new. Each year, scientists continue to encounter new species in museum collections—a stark reminder that we have named only a fraction of the world’s biodiversity. Sadly, some specimens have waited so long to be named that they are gone from the wild before they were identified, victims of climate change and habitat loss. As Kemp shows, these stories showcase the enduring importance of these very collections. The Lost Species vividly tells these stories of discovery—from the latest information on each creature to the people who collected them and the scientists who finally realized what they had unearthed—and will inspire many a museumgoer to want to peek behind the closed doors and rummage through the archives.
Author: Kate Jackson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
In 2005 Jackson ventured into the remote swamp forests of the northern Congo to collect reptiles and amphibians. This book is Jackson's unvarnished account of her research on the front lines of the global biodiversity crisis—coping with interminable delays in obtaining permits, learning to outrun advancing army ants, subsisting on a diet of Spam and manioc, and ultimately falling in love with the strangely beautiful flooded forest.
Author: Sean P. Graham
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 2018-02-18
125 million years ago on the floodplains of North America, a burrowing lizard started down the long evolutionary path of shedding its limbs. The 60-plus species of snakes found in Sean P. Graham’s American Snakes have this ancestral journey to thank for their ubiquity, diversity, and beauty. Although many people fear them, snakes are as much a part of America’s rich natural heritage as redwoods, bald eagles, and grizzly bears. Found from the vast Okefenokee Swamp to high alpine meadows, from hardwood canopies to the burning bottom of the Grand Canyon, these ultimate vertebrates are ecologically pivotal predators and quintessential survivors. In this revelatory and engaging meditation on American snakes, Graham, a respected herpetologist and gifted writer, • explains the everyday lives of American snakes, from their daily routines and seasonal cycles to their love lives, hunting tactics, and defensive repertoires • debunks harmful myths about snakes and explores their relationship with humans • highlights the contribution of snakes to the American wilderness • tells tales of "snake people"—important snake biologists with inspiring careers Neither a typical field guide nor an exhaustive reference, American Snakes is instead a fascinating study of the suborder Serpentes. Brimming with intriguing and unusual stories—of hognose snakes that roll over and play dead, blindsnakes with tiny vestigial lungs, rainbow-hued dipsadines, and wave-surfing sea-snakes—the text is interspersed with scores of gorgeous full-color images of snakes, from the scary to the sublime. This proud celebration of a diverse American wildlife group will make every reader, no matter how skeptical, into a genuine snake lover.
Author: Rick Shine
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2018-03-20
In 1935, an Australian government agency imported 101 specimens of the Central and South American Cane Toad in an attempt to manage insects that were decimating sugar-cane harvests. In Australia the Cane Toad adapted and evolved with abandon, voraciously consuming native wildlife and killing predators with its lethal skin toxin. Today, hundreds of millions of Cane Toads have spread across the northern part of Australia and continue to move westward. The humble Cane Toad has become a national villain. Cane Toad Wars chronicles the work of intrepid scientist Rick Shine, who has been documenting the toad’s ecological impact in Australia and seeking to buffer it. Despite predictions of devastation in the wake of advancing toad hordes, the author’s research reveals a more complex and nuanced story. A firsthand account of a perplexing ecological problem and an important exploration of how we measure evolutionary change and ecological resilience, this book makes an effective case for the value of long-term natural history research in informing conservation practice.
Author: David George Haskell
Release Date: 2012-03-15
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Look out for David Haskell's new book, The Songs of Tree: Stories From Nature's Great Connectors, coming in April of 2017 In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home. Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Lee Alan Dugatkin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2017-03-23
In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to speed up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. They started with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication. Within a decade the experiments had resulted in puppy-like foxes with floppy ears, piebald spots, and curly tails. Along with these physical changes came genetic and behavioral changes, as well. Dugatkin and Trut examine the adventure, science, politics, and love behind it all.
Author: Danna Staaf
Publisher: University Press of New England
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Before there were mammals on land, there were dinosaurs. And before there were fish in the sea, there were cephalopods-the ancestors of modern squid and Earth's first truly substantial animals. Cephalopods became the first creatures to rise from the seafloor, essentially inventing the act of swimming. With dozens of tentacles and formidable shells, they presided over an undersea empire for millions of years. But when fish evolved jaws, the ocean's former top predator became its most delicious snack. Cephalopods had to step up their game. Many species streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, but these enhancements only provided a brief advantage. Some cephalopods then abandoned the shell entirely, which opened the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, perhaps even dolphin-like intelligence. Squid Empire is an epic adventure spanning hundreds of millions of years, from the marine life of the primordial ocean to the calamari on tonight's menu. Anyone who enjoys the undersea world-along with all those obsessed with things prehistoric-will be interested in the sometimes enormous, often bizarre creatures that ruled the seas long before the first dinosaurs.
Author: Juliana Birnbaum
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Release Date: 2014-03-25
Genre: House & Home
Urban gardeners. Native seed-saving collectives. Ecovillage developments. What is the connection between these seemingly disparate groups? The ecological design system of permaculture is the common thread that weaves them into a powerful, potentially revolutionary—or reevolutionary—movement. Permaculture is a philosophy based on common ethics of sustainable cultures throughout history that have designed settlements according to nature's patterns and lived within its bounds. As a movement that has been building momentum for the past 40 years, it now is taking form as a growing network of sites developed with the intention of regenerating local ecologies and economies. Permaculture strategies can be used by individuals, groups, or nations to address basic human needs such as food, water, energy, and housing. As a species, humans are being called forth to evolve, using our collective intelligence to meet the challenges of the future. Yet if we are to survive our collective planetary crisis, we need to revisit history, integrating successful systems from sustainable cultures. To boldly confront our position on the brink of the earth's carrying capacity and make changes that incorporate the wisdom of the past is truly revolutionary. Sustainable Revolution features the work of a worldwide network of visionaries, including journalists, activists, indigenous leaders and permaculturists such as David Holmgren, Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein, Starhawk, Erik Assadourian, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Albert Bates, and Geoff Lawton. This beautifully photographed collection of profiles, interviews, and essays features 60 innovative community-based projects in diverse climates across the planet. Edited by anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum Fox and award-winning activist filmmaker Louis Fox, it can be read as an informal ethnography of an international culture that is modeling solutions on the cutting edge of social and environmental change. The research presented in the book frames the permaculture movement as a significant ally to marginalized groups, such as the urban poor and native communities resisting the pressures of globalization. Sustainable Revolution uplifts and inspires with its amazing array of dynamic activists and thriving, vibrant communities. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Cecil C. Konijnendijk
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2008-05-20
Genre: Technology & Engineering
Amsterdamse Bos, Bois de Boulogne, Epping Forest, Grunewald, Zoniënwoud; throughout history, cities in Europe and elsewhere have developed close relationships with nearby woodland areas. In some cases, cities have even developed – and in some cases are promoting – a distinct ‘forest identity’. This book introduces the rich heritage of these city forests as cultural landscapes, and shows that cities and forests can be mutually beneficial. Essential reading for students and researchers interested in urban sustainability and urban forestry, this book also has much wider appeal. For with city forests playing an increasingly important role in local government sustainability programs, it provides an important reference for those involved in urban planning and decision making, public affairs and administration, and even public health. From providers of livelihoods to healthy recreational environments, and from places of inspiration and learning to a source of conflict, the book presents examples of city forests from around the world. These cases clearly illustrate how the social and cultural development of towns and forests has often gone hand in hand. They also reveal how better understanding of city forests as distinct cultural and social phenomena can help to strengthen synergies both between cities and forests, and between urban society and nature.
Author: Ian Smillie
Publisher: Anthem Press
Release Date: 2010
Africa’s diamond wars took four million lives. ‘Blood on the Stone’ tells the story of how diamonds came to be so dangerous, describing the great diamond cartel and a dangerous pipeline leading from war-torn Africa to the glittering showrooms of Paris, London and New York. It describes the campaign that forced an industry and more than 50 governments to create a global control mechanism, and it provides a sobering prognosis on its future.
Author: Casey Sherman
Publisher: University Press of New England
Release Date: 2017-09-05
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
While everyone knows of the Ice Bucket Challenge, the viral craze that swept the nation in summer 2014, too few know the truly inspirational story behind it. Pete Frates was a man at war with his own body. A man whose love for others was unshakable. A man who refused to fight alone, and in so doing mobilized a global army to combat one of the most devastating diseases on earth: ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. When disease crippled Frates, the former Boston College baseball star turned tragedy into inspiration. Pete's story is a testament to the power of love, the steadfastness of family, the generosity of strangers, and the compassion of crowds. Half of the authors' proceeds will go to the Frates family.
Author: John H. Bodley
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: 2014-08-14
Genre: Social Science
Victims of Progress, now in its sixth edition, offers a compelling account of how technology and development affect indigenous peoples throughout the world. Bodley’s expansive look at the struggle between small-scale indigenous societies, and the colonists and corporate developers who have infringed their territories reaches from 1800 into today. He examines major issues of intervention such as social engineering, economic development, self-determination, health and disease, global warming, and ecocide. Small-scale societies, Bodley convincingly demonstrates, have survived by organizing politically to defend their basic human rights. Providing a provocative context in which to think about civilization and its costs—shedding light on how we are all victims of progress—the sixth edition features expanded discussion of “uprising politics,” Tebtebba (a particularly active indigenous organization), and voluntary isolation. A wholly new chapter devotes full coverage to the costs of global warming to indigenous peoples in the Pacific and the Arctic. Finally, new appendixes guide readers to recent protest petitions as well as online resources and videos.