From Library Journal
Published to coincide with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, this work provides an overview of the current state of global diversity, a source of growing concern in past years. The authors, both staff members of the World Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme, focus on the diversity of living organisms, their populations, and major aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem types. Opening with a discussion of material cycles and energy flow, the text goes on to examine diversity through geological time, species extinction, and the increasing human impact on the environment. A large portion of the work focuses on the three basic biome types: terrestrial, marine, and inland waters. The maps include marine turtle diversity, forest distribution, and flowering plant family diversity, while appendixes include the phyla of living organisms, recent vertebrate extinctions, and biodiversity at the country level. Despite its numerous attractive tables, charts, graphs, and color photographs, this work is most appropriate for researchers and college students of ecology/environmental studies. General readers would find the maps and tables useful, but much of the other data may be too technical. Special and academic libraries will find that this resource nicely complements the five-volume Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, edited by Simon Levin.Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A revision and updating of Global Diversity: Earth's Living Resources in the 21st Century
(World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 2000), this atlas was published to coincide with the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg. It is meant to provide "a comprehensive and accessible view of key global issues in biodiversity." Filled with an amazing breadth of textual information, the volume is arranged into eight thematic chapters. The first four of these cover the biosphere, the phylogenetic tree, the changes in biodiversity on a geological timescale, and human needs and impacts. The next three chapters deal with issues in terrestrial, marine, and inland water biodiversity, and the final chapter addresses global management responses.
Information is delivered in the form of essays, tables, figures, color photographs, and elegant maps that require thoughtful study to feel the impact of what they contain. The two map pairs that contain some of the most important information in the book are those that show possible future scenarios of biodiversity change as identified by two different models. These maps are less than one-fourth the size of other maps, so lose some of their visual strength while containing powerful ideas.
The appendixes are an eclectic group. Appendix 1 lists the phyla of living organisms. Appendixes 2 and 3 contain descriptions of the origins and current statuses of plant and domestic livestock species important for human consumption. Appendix 4 is a 16-page listing of recent vertebrate extinctions. The index is detailed, and index headings include map pages in boldface type.
The preface states that this is "a resource pack and a survival kit for the future." It also could have said that the volume is probably one of the highest value-for-price books on the environment currently in print. Every academic and large public library should purchase it. RBB
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