What do wolves have to do with the viability of trees? Or sea otters with kelp? Conservation biologist Eisenberg explains the far-reaching impact of such keystone species on their habitats in her debut book, which is rooted in the seminal work of Aldo Leopold, who traced the energy flow of the food chain, and the much debated “green world hypothesis,” which states that the world is green because predators keep herbivores in check. Eisenberg shares eye-opening revelations regarding the full scope and astonishing subtleties of predator/prey relationships and their immense ecological impact. Drawing on her own fieldwork with wolves, she observes that when they are eradicated, entire biotic communities are jeopardized, including aspen stands, in a process known as a trophic cascade. This waterfall or domino effect gravely diminishes terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Eisenberg cites vivid examples in Yellowstone, the Aleutian Islands, Amazon rain forests, and coral reefs that affirm the core truth about nature: it's all about relationships. An enlightening work that will advance understanding of biodiversity and how to sustain it. --Donna Seaman
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"An enlightening work that will advance understanding of biodiversity and how to sustain it."
"[S]trike[s] at the heart of what it means to be a biologist."
"A wonderful example of the inspiration that comes from the natural history set."
"Fully referenced, meticulously researched and beautifully written, The Wolf's Tooth is an absorbing read for anyone interested in biodiversity, ecology, conservation or wildlife management....everyone with a serious interest in ecology, conservation, ecosystem management and/or biodiversity should read Eisenberg's book. I loved it, and developed an enhanced understanding of trophic cascades research and ecosystem change. In a world where habitats and communities are changing fast due to human action, such concepts as sequential faunal collapse and ecosystem degradation are going to become all too familiar."
"[C]olourful...The author's writing style is readable, enjoyable and occasionally extremely lyrical...an extremely interesting and enjoyable synthesis of the science of trophic cascades."
"The Wolf's Tooth is an engaging read which will be of wide interest to all ecologists, even those whose research is not focussed on predators."
"A fascinating book. If you want to know more about the relationship between animals and the land they live in it's a worthwhile read with the potential to open many people's hearts, minds and eyes."
"Eisenberg is that rare writer who blends accessible descriptions of science with a lyrical sensitivity to the spiritual qualities of nature. Here, she uses these talents to present a highly readable summary of trophic cascades, the ripples felt through marine, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems when top predators are removed or reintroduced. The result of this blending of science and aesthetics is an engaging and even uplifting read. Highly recommended."
"This engaging book explores the reasons we need big predators and explains the most revolutionary idea found in contemporary ecology: trophic cascades. For nearly a century ecologists have believed that nature is democratic, governed from the bottom up by the amount of solar energy converted to green biomass, the food of herbivores. Eisenberg makes the case for the alternative view—top-down control of ecosystems by predators and other keystone species—while diplomatically exploring a path for reconciling these disparate views."
(Michael Soulé Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz)
"Cristina Eisenberg weaves her observations as a scientist and her personal experiences afield into a resonant account about the web of life that links humans to the natural world. Grounded in best science, inspired by her intimate knowledge of the wolves she studies, she offers us a luminous portrait of the ecological relationships that are essential for our well-being in a rapidly changing world. The Wolf's Tooth calls for a conservation vision that involves rewilding the earth and honoring all our relations."
(Brenda Peterson author of I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth)
"We've been practicing 'scientific' wildlife management for decades with a shaky grasp of how natural systems actually work. As the focus shifts, at last, from favored species toward biodiversity and community ecology, exciting new concepts such as trophic cascades and the keystone roles played by long-reviled predators come to the fore. This is the next level of conservation, as complex as it is crucial. You couldn't ask for a better guide than Cristina Eisenberg, blending tales from her own field studies with wonderfully clear explanations of the connections that keep nature vibrant and whole over time."
(Douglas H. Chadwick wildlife biologist, conservation reporter, and author of The Wolverine Way)
"The Wolf's Tooth takes a venerable but misunderstood concept in ecology and renders it fresh, clear, and vital. In elegant prose drawn from her own deep experience in the field, Cristina Eisenberg has written a genuinely important contribution to the conservation biology canon. Besides showing how trophic cascades actually work, and how top predators can help rewild North America, her book is a fine primer for both theoretical and practical ecology."
(Robert Michael Pyle author of Wintergreen and Chasing Monarchs)
"A scientist with a poet's command of language, Cristina Eisenberg writes with precision and passion . . . takes her reader on a breathtaking, sometimes heartbreaking tour of the planet from the Gulf of Maine to the Amazonian rain forests, the tropical coral reefs to old growth forests of the Northwest as well as rivers, lakes, and wetlands. I found the wealth of information not only accessible but riveting . . . Eisenberg's powerful, beautifully written book . . . has the potential to open many people's eyes, minds, and hearts."
(Elizabeth Cunningham Huffington Post)