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The Mascarene islands in the southern Indian Ocean - Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues - were once home to an extraordinary range of birds and reptiles. Evolving on these isolated volcanic islands in the absence of mammalian predators or competitors, the land was dominated by giant tortoises, parrots, skinks and geckos, burrowing boas, flightless rails & herons, and of course (in Mauritius) the Dodo. Uninhabited and only discovered in the 1500s, colonisation by European settlers in the 1600s led to dramatic changes in the ecology of the islands; the birds and tortoises were slaughtered indiscriminately while introduced rats, cats, pigs and monkeys destroyed their eggs, the once-extensive forests logged, and invasive introduced plants from all over the tropics devastated the ecosystem. The now-familiar icon of extinction, the Dodo, was gone from Mauritius within 50 years of human settlement, and over the next 150 years many of the Mascarenes' other native vertebrates followed suit. The product of over 30 years research by Anthony Cheke, Lost Land of the Dodo provides a comprehensive yet hugely enjoyable account of the story of the islands' changing ecology, interspersed with human stories, the islands' biogeographical anomalies, and much else. Many French publications, old and new, especially for Réunion, are discussed and referenced in English for the first time. The book is richly illustrated with maps and contemporary illustrations of the animals and their environment, many of which have rarely been reprinted before. Illustrated box texts look in detail at each extinct vertebrate species, while Julian Hume's superb colour plates bring many of the extinct birds to life. Lost Land of the Dodo provides the definitive account of this tragic yet remarkable fauna, and is a must-read for anyone interested in islands, their ecology and the history of our relationship with the world around us.
Extinct Birds was the first comprehensive review of the hundreds of the bird species and subspecies that have become extinct over the last 1,000 years of habitat degradation, over-hunting and rat introduction. It has become the standard text on this subject, covering both familiar icons of extinction as well as more obscure birds, some known from just one specimen or from travellers' tales. This second edition is expanded to include dozens of new species, as more are constantly added to the list, either through extinction or through new subfossil discoveries. Extinct Birds is the result of decades of research into literature and museum drawers, as well as caves and subfossil deposits, which often reveal birds long-gone that disappeared without ever being recorded by scientists while they lived. From Greak Auks, Carolina Parakeets and Dodos to the amazing yet almost completely vanished bird radiations of Hawaii and New Zealand via rafts of extinction in the Pacific and elsewhere, this book is both a sumptuous reference and astounding testament to humanity's devastating impact on wildlife.
This book aims to further advance the field of reintroduction biology beyond the considerable progress made since the formation of the IUCN/SSC Re–introduction Specialist Group. Using an issue–based framework that purposely avoids a structure based on case studies the book′s central theme is advocating a strategic approach to reintroduction where all actions are guided by explicit theoretical frameworks based on clearly defined objectives. Issues covered include husbandry and intensive management, monitoring, and genetic and health management. Although taxonomically neutral there is a recognised dominance of bird and mammal studies that reflects the published research in this field. The structure and content are designed for use by people wanting to bridge the research–management gap, such as conservation managers wanting to expand their thinking about reintroduction–related decisions, or researchers who seek to make useful applied contributions to reintroduction.
Almost two hundred species of birds have become extinct in the past 400 years, and a similar number today are in imminent danger of following them. The world's conservationists are leading the fight to prevent the demise of these remaining critically endangered birds, with a fair degree of success. This new book examines the process and issues concerning extinction - how and why it happens and what can be done about it. Whilst man is to blame for many of the causes, such as persecution and habitat loss, species have become extinct on a regular basis since life began. After several thought-provoking introductory chapters, the book showcases about 20 species on the brink of extinction from around the world and describes the work that is being undertaken to save them. Some are success stories, but a few are not. This is a subject close to the hearts of all birders and ornithologists and this book, written by a team of leading conservationists, will strike a chord in most of them.
Invasion ecology is the study of the causes and consequences of the introduction of organisms to areas outside their native range. Interest in this field has exploded in the past few decades. Explaining why and how organisms are moved around the world, how and why some become established and invade, and how best to manage invasive species in the face of global change are all crucial issues that interest biogeographers, ecologists and environmental managers in all parts of the world. This book brings together the insights of more than 50 authors to examine the origins, foundations, current dimensions and potential trajectories of invasion ecology. It revisits key tenets of the foundations of invasion ecology, including contributions of pioneering naturalists of the 19th century, including Charles Darwin and British ecologist Charles Elton, whose 1958 monograph on invasive species is widely acknowledged as having focussed scientific attention on biological invasions.
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.
Dave Foreman is one of North America's most creative and effective conservation leaders, an outspoken proponent of protecting and restoring the earth's wildness, and a visionary thinker. Over the past 30 years, he has helped set direction for some of our most influential conservation organizations, served as editor and publisher of key conservation journals, and shared with readers his unique style and outlook in widely acclaimed books including The Big Outside and Confessions of an Eco-Warrior. In Rewilding North America, Dave Foreman takes on arguably the biggest ecological threat of our time: the global extinction crisis. He not only explains the problem in clear and powerful terms, but also offers a bold, hopeful, scientifically credible, and practically achievable solution. Foreman begins by setting out the specific evidence that a mass extinction is happening and analyzes how humans are causing it. Adapting Aldo Leopold's idea of ecological wounds, he details human impacts on species survival in seven categories, including direct killing, habitat loss and fragmentation, exotic species, and climate change. Foreman describes recent discoveries in conservation biology that call for wildlands networks instead of isolated protected areas, and, reviewing the history of protected areas, shows how wildlands networks are a logical next step for the conservation movement. The final section describes specific approaches for designing such networks (based on the work of the Wildlands Project, an organization Foreman helped to found) and offers concrete and workable reforms for establishing them. The author closes with an inspiring and empowering call to action for scientists and activists alike. Rewilding North America offers both a vision and a strategy for reconnecting, restoring, and rewilding the North American continent, and is an essential guidebook for anyone concerned with the future of life on earth.

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