Scores of bird species are in decline throughout North America. But the extent of that decline, writes zoologist Robert Askins, is unknown. Newspapers, for instance, report one day that songbird species are widely threatened, another day that songbirds seem to be thriving, offering conflicting views that, Askins hints, seem not to take into account the phenomena of migration and the very real destruction of the natural world.
Drawing on the methods of landscape ecology, Askins looks at ways in which to measure the health of individual habitats. He pays special attention to seemingly habitat-threatening events such as fire and flood, which generations of conservation managers and foresters have attempted to suppress, but that are important mechanisms in maintaining the balance of nature. He also revisits principles that are becoming better understood--among them the fact that some species, such as the controversial spotted owl and the less-publicized upland sandpiper, require large areas of undisturbed habitat in order to survive. Those large areas are a commodity that development is making ever more rare, and, Askins points out, most declining bird species are associated with what he calls "lost landscapes," once-plentiful habitats that have been erased or transformed. Only through a vigorous program of habitat restoration and conservation can North America's birds--and other wildlife species--be protected from further ruin. Askins's book is an eye-opening and instructive work of scientific inquiry. --Gregory McNamee
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This book is first-rate, very broad in scope and appeal, readable, and truly integrative in its coverage of landscape ecology and its implications for avian conservation biology... It will be of significant interest to researchers and students of conservation biology, ornithology and ecology; land managers; conservation agencies; and anyone with an interest in protecting the rich avian diversity of North America." Trevor E. Pitcher, American Scientist "This wonderful book is especially relevant for conservation biologists from all walks of life." Kathryn E. Sieving, Auk "An enjoyable read for anyone, from the amateur birder to the professional scientist." J. Michael Reed, Ecology