- Download A Citizen's Guide to Ecology
Author: Lawrence B. Slobodkin
Date Released: 2003
Page Count: 258
Isbn10 Code: 0195162862
Isbn13 Code: 9780195162868
From Scientific American Slobodkin, professor emeritus of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, provides a calm voice amid the rancor often arising in discussions of ecology. "I have two goals," he writes. "One is to enhance appreciation of the pleasure and beauty to be found in nature. Another goal is to help individual citizens understand the real and unreal assertions about existing problems and impending disasters in nature." Dismissing ecological fanatics and faddists, he focuses on "real ecological problems that require solutions," in particular, global warming and endangered species. "If ecologists are very successful," he says, "they will help maintain the pleasant and livable properties of the world. If not, the world will change in unpleasant ways." (122) Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to the edition. From Ecology professor Slobodkin writes that a tendency to alarmism or complacency in television programs and popular literature about nature has impelled him to write this description of his science. Its presentation is laconic--but all the more clear for that unadorned style. Effective, too, is Slobodkin's precept that popular misunderstanding of what ecology involves enables "experts" on ecological problems to gain support for policies that may not be scientifically justified. To aid understanding, he minutely describes how in one ecosystem, a lake, patterns of species interactions and nutrient flows alter during a year, and then extends basic principles thus elucidated to ocean and land. Slobodkin then proceeds to explain the mathematical dynamics of population growth and decline, the concept of ecological niches, and definitions of biodiversity. As these elements come together as influences on global warming and species extinction--the prime worries about ecology as expressed by the public--Slobodkin's sober examination of those two topics offers the empowerment that arises from genuine knowledge about problems. Highly recommended. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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