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.