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Listed: Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act Hardcover – May 31, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A beautifully written description of what is happening to many of our only known living companions in the universe, told against the background of the much (ignorantly) maligned U.S. Endangered Species Act. It is also a plea to take steps that would help to preserve threatened organisms and us. A fascinating read. (Paul R. Ehrlich, coauthor of The Dominant Animal)

[Roman] provides a memorable dispatch on the fate of endangered species. (Kirkus Reviews 2011-03-15)

In Listed, conservation biologist Joe Roman recounts the uses and abuses of a well-intentioned but all-too-human law...Roman's meandering and occasionally lyrical book is generally optimistic about the law he is chronicling, and he tends toward win-win tales. (Katherine Mangu-Ward Wall Street Journal 2011-05-05)

The Endangered Species Act has been under attack since it was passed in 1973, when the tiny snail darter temporarily stopped the building of the Tellico Dam. The history of the act, and all of the ramifications of listing (or not listing) a species as endangered under the act, is thoroughly investigated in this wide-ranging examination of one of the most important pieces of federal legislation of the twentieth century. Roman chose a few cases to illustrate why people feel threatened by the act--it puts people out of work and it puts animals before people--and why biodiversity protection really works. Roman joined scientists as they studied such high-profile species as the Florida panther, red-cockaded woodpecker, and whooping crane, as well as researchers who look at Lyme disease, ethnobotanists studying medicinal plants, malacologists trying to save freshwater mussels, and a volunteer working on the gopher frog. As he describes the field research, Roman demonstrates why saving endangered species and protecting biodiversity makes sense economically, medicinally, and philosophically. A perfect primer on the Endangered Species Act. (Nancy Bent Booklist 2011-05-01)

Roman offers revealing case studies on the effects of the Endangered Species Act, which has been under attack almost since becoming law in 1973. Complaints have focused on the burdens placed on governments and citizens. Roman counters by making the case that protecting species can benefit both the environment and business. (Christopher Schoppa Washington Post 2011-04-29)

Read[s] like dispatches from a war reporter in the midst of battle...Listed takes an idiosyncratic approach to the [Endangered Species Act], using it as an entry to many issues and controversies in conservation. Roman is an engaging author, and readers will enjoy the book. They will also come away having gained a deeper understanding of the Act, along with a plethora of interesting facts about listed species. (Daniel Simberloff American Scientist 2011-07-01)

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was a revolutionary step toward the protection of threatened biodiversity, but it has not been an unqualified success. In Listed, Roman examines the history, accomplishments, and failures of the law with a series of essays, each of which focuses on one of the animals the act affects...The book is informative and enjoyable. (J. L. Hunt Choice 2011-09-01)

About the Author

Joe Roman is a researcher at the University of Vermont, the author of Whale, and senior editor of the journal Solutions.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674047516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674047518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. J. Snyder on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Kudos to Joe Roman for writing not just about "charismatic megafauna," other than chapters on the Florida panther, wolves in Yellowstone and the (very likely extinct for decades) ivory-billed woodpecker.

Other than that, it's about mussels, frogs, salamanders, and things that don't even get considered for the ESA, like extremeophilic bacteria. This is a great, great book of essays.

And, it's about more than species, it's about ecosystems. As any good environmentalist knows, species can't be protected very well without maintenance of adequate habitats. Roman weaves the two sides of the story together in discussing Lyme disease and its possible vector(s), what animals are involved in that vector and more.

For nature lovers at times frustrated by government foot dragging on species listing and other things, this book can be a shot in the arm.
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Format: Hardcover
Biodiversity is important! Why? Listed: Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act by Joe Roman, gives many answers to this question. Listed is a 2011 book of great import, and one which any person who cares about life on planet Earth should read. In his prologue, Roman clearly states the purpose of his work: to see if biodiversity protection is working, and how humans are being affected by it (Roman 4). Examining these questions through beautiful and moving stories of endangered species and the people who live near them, Roman shows the conflict between species protection and human economics, and presents information on how humans and nature can work together for the benefit of all.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was made to protect listed species from becoming extinct. However, there has always been a lot of conflict between conservation of species and human economics. Roman focuses on two main issues: how species are protected and what more needs to be done in that realm, and the conflict between conservation and economics, suggesting that conservation can bring huge benefits to the human population.
Using stories like that of the red-cockaded woodpecker, Roman supports the idea that nature is the basis for the economy. Throughout the book, Roman makes a point of showing what economic benefits nature brings to human life. However, in order for humans to gain these benefits, biodiversity needs to be protected. These benefits come from the intricate workings of various precisely balanced ecosystems. Roman points out that diversity in genetics, species, and natural communities can stabilize an ecosystem (Roman 83).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This swift-moving history of the Endangered Species Act culminates with prescriptions for enhancing environmental law, and suggestions for infusing ecological economics and other disciplines into wildlife conservation. Roman also implies often and well that many conservation biologists are consistently practicing neither conservation biology nor ethics (307.) More a series of cogent essays re: the importance of ESA, portraits of its champions and political opponents, and brilliant species-specific commentaries on the ways in which protection of the less-storied species, helped ensure the restoration or growth of ecosystems, Roman adds character to his material with personal comments and recollections which are well-hewn, literary and deeply felt.

While I thought the narrative meandered for 20 or 30 pages in its discussion of the deer tick, Roman's challenge to worn hypotheses about the etiology of Lyme disease, I was transfixed by every word. I will recommend this work to dozens of colleagues in wildlife rehab and biology -- and even more to voters, and intelligent lay readers.

As one who questions my state's mandate for a wolf hunt (ongoing at this writing) soon after the Feds delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Roman stresses that, while ESA was crafted to ensure the SURVIVAL of threatened species, its ultimate purpose is to support, with legal durability, the restoration and support of regional ecosystems to self- sustaining levels.

It is consistent with the values of ESA to study particular habitats and species-specific memes, to characterize areas of distribution as, eg. "wolf country," domains in which the wolf dominates for reasons which benefit our shared ecosystems.

Roman's closing remarks are thought-provoking, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of this review sumerizes the four stars I give it and it's great on background detail....BUT, I found it's sollutions offered for preventing extinction and it's critique of the law, as written and "functioning" and suggestion for improving it either disappointing and unimaginative or completely lacking...

While it gives great insight into the pollitically basturdizing process through which even laws with th best of intentions are strained, I really expected the author to at least try proposing ammendments that might better pollish the enablement process...expectation unfullfilled...

And the "what to do" list was disappointingly incomplete and non-inclusive, being primarily focused on the governmental and academeic and zoological refuge/zoo-exclusive repopulation aproaches, and totally ignoring how to envolve the interested public, lay-hobbyist and private/captive breeders who could take up the professional understaffing and funding shortfalls and fluctuations caused by political ignorance, greed, special-interest and expedient short-sightedness.

This book IS good, as far as it went...it just didn't live up to all I'd hoped to see it address in terms of innovatively citizen-involving solutions...
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