The Heretic in Darwin’s Court

The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace

Author: Ross A. Slotten

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231503563

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 640

View: 1271


During their lifetimes, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin shared credit and fame for the independent and near-simultaneous discovery of natural selection. Together, the two men spearheaded one of the greatest intellectual revolutions in modern history, and their rivalry, usually amicable but occasionally acrimonious, forged modern evolutionary theory. Yet today, few people today know much about Wallace. The Heretic in Darwin's Court explores the controversial life and scientific contributions of Alfred Russel Wallace—Victorian traveler, scientist, spiritualist, and co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of natural selection. After examining his early years, the biography turns to Wallace's twelve years of often harrowing travels in the western and eastern tropics, which place him in the pantheon of the greatest explorer-naturalists of the nineteenth century. Tracing step-by-step his discovery of natural selection—a piece of scientific detective work as revolutionary in its implications as the discovery of the structure of DNA—the book then follows the remaining fifty years of Wallace's eccentric and entertaining life. In addition to his divergence from Darwin on two fundamental issues—sexual selection and the origin of the human mind—he pursued topics that most scientific figures of his day conspicuously avoided, including spiritualism, phrenology, mesmerism, environmentalism, and life on Mars. Although there may be disagreement about his conclusions, Wallace's intellectual investigations into the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe itself remain some of the most inspired scientific accomplishments in history. This authoritative biography casts new light on the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace and the importance of his twenty-five-year relationship with Charles Darwin.

The Song of the Dodo

Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions

Author: David Quammen

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1439124965

Category: Nature

Page: 704

View: 6429


David Quammen's book, The Song of the Dodo, is a brilliant, stirring work, breathtaking in its scope, far-reaching in its message -- a crucial book in precarious times, which radically alters the way in which we understand the natural world and our place in that world. It's also a book full of entertainment and wonders. In The Song of the Dodo, we follow Quammen's keen intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries. We trail after him as he travels the world, tracking the subject of island biogeography, which encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin and extinction of all species. Why is this island idea so important? Because islands are where species most commonly go extinct -- and because, as Quammen points out, we live in an age when all of Earth's landscapes are being chopped into island-like fragments by human activity. Through his eyes, we glimpse the nature of evolution and extinction, and in so doing come to understand the monumental diversity of our planet, and the importance of preserving its wild landscapes, animals, and plants. We also meet some fascinating human characters. By the book's end we are wiser, and more deeply concerned, but Quammen leaves us with a message of excitement and hope.

Deep Things out of Darkness

A History of Natural History

Author: John G. T. Anderson

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520954459

Category: Nature

Page: 366

View: 8284


Natural history, the deliberate observation of the environment, is arguably the oldest science. From purely practical beginnings as a way of finding food and shelter, natural history evolved into the holistic, systematic study of plants, animals, and the landscape. Deep Things out of Darkness chronicles the rise, decline, and ultimate revival of natural history within the realms of science and public discourse. Ecologist John G. T. Anderson focuses his account on the lives and contributions of an eclectic group of men and women, from John Ray, John Muir, Charles Darwin, and Rachel Carson, who endured remarkable hardships and privations in order to learn more about their surroundings. Written in an engaging narrative style and with an extensive bibliography of primary sources, the book charts the journey of the naturalist’s endeavor from prehistory to the present, underscoring the need for natural history in an era of dynamic environmental change.

Biotic Evolution and Environmental Change in Southeast Asia

Author: David Gower,Kenneth Johnson,James Richardson,Brian Rosen,Lukas Rüber,Suzanne Williams

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139536222

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 8880


The flora and fauna of Southeast Asia are exceptionally diverse. The region includes several terrestrial biodiversity hotspots and is the principal global hotspot for marine diversity, but it also faces the most intense challenges of the current global biodiversity crisis. Providing reviews, syntheses and results of the latest research into Southeast Asian earth and organismal history, this book investigates the history, present and future of the fauna and flora of this bio- and geodiverse region. Leading authorities in the field explore key topics including palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology, illustrating research approaches and themes with spatially, taxonomically and methodologically focused case studies. The volume also presents methodological advances in population genetics and historical biogeography. Exploring the fascinating environmental and biotic histories of Southeast Asia, this is an ideal resource for graduate students and researchers as well as environmental NGOs.

Trees in Paradise: A California History

Author: Jared Farmer

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393241270

Category: History

Page: 544

View: 5654


From roots to canopy, a lush, verdant history of the making of California. California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to "improve" the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities. They imported the blue-green eucalypts whose tangy fragrance was thought to cure malaria. They built the lucrative "Orange Empire" on the sweet juice and thick skin of the Washington navel, an industrial fruit. They lined their streets with graceful palms to announce that they were not in the Midwest anymore. To the north the majestic coastal redwoods inspired awe and invited exploitation. A resource in the state, the durable heartwood of these timeless giants became infrastructure, transformed by the saw teeth of American enterprise. By 1900 timber firms owned the entire redwood forest; by 1950 they had clear-cut almost all of the old-growth trees. In time California’s new landscape proved to be no paradise: the eucalypts in the Berkeley hills exploded in fire; the orange groves near Riverside froze on cold nights; Los Angeles’s palms harbored rats and dropped heavy fronds on the streets below. Disease, infestation, and development all spelled decline for these nonnative evergreens. In the north, however, a new forest of second-growth redwood took root, nurtured by protective laws and sustainable harvesting. Today there are more California redwoods than there were a century ago. Rich in character and story, Trees in Paradise is a dazzling narrative that offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.

Working Forests in the Neotropics

Conservation Through Sustainable Management?

Author: Daniel J. Zarin,Janaki R. R. Alavalapati,Frances E. Putz,Marianne Schmink

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231503032

Category: Nature

Page: 416

View: 1194


Neotropical forests sustain a wealth of biodiversity, provide a wide range of ecosystem services and products, and support the livelihoods of millions of people. But is forest management a viable conservation strategy in the tropics? Supporters of sustainable forest management have promoted it as a solution to problems of both biodiversity protection and economic stagnation. Detractors insist that any conservation strategy short of fully protected status is a waste of resources and that forest management actually hastens deforestation. By focusing on a set of critical issues and case studies, this book explores the territory between these positions, highlighting the major factors that contribute to or detract from the chances of achieving forest conservation through sustainable management.

Community forest management in the Peruvian Amazon

A literature review

Author: Rosa Cossío,Mary Menton,Peter Cronkleton,Anne Larson

Publisher: CIFOR



Page: 23

View: 2285


This review summarizes the published literature, as well as any available information provided by NGOs or project proponents, on the practice of community forest management (CFM) in the Peruvian Amazon. It provides an overview of literature related to land-use and forest management by rural populations in the Peruvian Amazon, placing this information in the broader context of the forestry sector in Peru. The review describes the different manifestations of CFM in Peru and the most widely studied cases of CFM projects. The document also examines some emerging initiatives, summarizes the main challenges for CFM and highlights important areas for future research. One key finding of this review is that there is a general lack of scientific analyses of CFM in Peru: most information is available only via project reports prepared by project proponents and/or donors. The review stresses that community forest management takes many forms. People throughout the Amazon have long relied on forest resources for their shifting cultivation systems, and timber and NTFPs are central to the livelihoods of many. Typically, forest use has occurred informally with little oversight or control by the state. Beginning in the 1980s, environmental NGOs have introduced CFM initiatives in Peru. To date, most CFM projects focus only on indigenous communities to support timber management; by contrast, scientific studies have focused on forest use within subsistence livelihood systems. Given that there are approximately 2 million non-indigenous rural Amazonians in Peru, the forest footprint and market impacts of non-indigenous smallholder forest management are likely to be much greater than recognized. However, very little is known about these endogenous smallholder-led systems. More research is needed to increase our understanding of the heterogeneity of these systems and the opportunities and challenges that they represent.


Author: Boston Public Library

Publisher: N.A


Category: Boston (Mass.)

Page: N.A

View: 7202


Fishes of the Rio Negro

Author: Alfred Russel Wallace

Publisher: EdUSP

ISBN: 9788531406331

Category: Freshwater fishes

Page: 517

View: 9420


Apresenta uma coleção de desenhos, feitos pelo autor, com anotações, de peixes da Amazônia, durante sua expedição, entre 1850 e 1852, àquela região.

The palms of the Amazon

Author: Andrew Henderson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA


Category: History

Page: 362

View: 5359


The palms are among the most abundant, diverse, and important families of plants found in the Amazon. Based on extensive field work, this book provides a systematic treatment of all palms that occur naturally in the Amazon region. Each species is exhaustively described with reviews of their distribution, habitat, and ecology. Introductory chapters describe the physical setting of the Amazon region as well as on the biogeography and ecology of the palm family. This first modern treatment of the 135 species of Amazon palms provides a definitive account of their ecology, uses, and biogeography. It will be welcomed by students, teachers, and researchers of botany, ecology, agronomy, and conservation biology.

Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology

Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands

Author: William L. Balée,Clark L. Erickson

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231509618

Category: Science

Page: 432

View: 9699


This collection of studies by anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists is an important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology. The book combines cutting-edge research with new perspectives to emphasize the close relationship between humans and their natural environment. Contributors examine how alterations in the natural world mirror human cultures, societies, and languages. Treating the landscape like a text, these researchers decipher patterns and meaning in the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other regions in the neotropics. They show how local peoples have changed the landscape over time to fit their needs by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance. In turn, the environment itself becomes a form of architecture rich with historical and archaeological significance. Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology explores thousands of years of ecological history while also addressing important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change. Engagingly written and expertly researched, this book introduces and exemplifies a unique method for better understanding the link between humans and the biosphere.

This Borrowed Earth

Lessons from the Fifteen Worst Environmental Disasters around the World

Author: Robert Emmet Hernan

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780230105270

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 463


Over the last century mankind has irrevocably damaged the environment through the unscrupulous greed of big business and our own willful ignorance. Here are the strikingly poignant accounts of disasters whose names live in infamy: Chernobyl, Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Love Canal, Minamata and others. And with these, the extraordinary and inspirational stories of the countless men and women who fought bravely to protect the communities and environments at risk.

Tropical Forest Ecology

The Basis for Conservation and Management

Author: Florencia Montagnini,Carl F. Jordan,Institute of Ecology Carl F Jordan

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9783540237976

Category: Nature

Page: 295

View: 9331


Importance pf tropical forests; characteristics of tropical forests; classification of tropical forests; deforestation in the tropics; management of tropical forests; plantatios and agroforestry systems; approaches for implementing sustainable management techniques.