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Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity (American Museum of Natural History) Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"... a carefully crafted and highly readable analysis... devoid of jargon and excessive technical terminology, Pearson's work is highly recommended to anyone with interest in nature conservation or broader climate change issues." -- Michael M. Gunter Jr., review in Biological Conservation

"... a wonderfully written revelation of how nature is stirring in response to climate change - and a wake up call to what could happen to our fellow inhabitants on the living planet. Required reading for every citizen." -- Thomas E. Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair, the Heinz Center, and Senior Advisor to the United Nations Foundation

"The writing is very accessible, and the book provides an excellent summary of the issues along with solid evidence for the author's claims. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All students and general readers." -- C. E. Buckley, review in Choice magazine

"A primer on one of the most contentious topics in modern ecology... Written in a light style with short, easy‐to‐read chapters... an effective counter to misinformation elsewhere" -- Markus Eichhorn, review in Frontiers of Biogeography

 "... a nuanced and fascinating book about the interrelationship of two of the greatest challenges humanity will face in this century - holding climate change within manageable bounds and preserving biodiversity in the face of rapidly changing habitat and a changing climate" -- John Topping, President of the Climate Institute

"a fantastic read for the lay audience... a great read for undergraduate science majors and beginning graduate students... For the person interested in communicating climate change, Pearson presents a masterful case" -- M. Schwartz, review in Ecology.

From the Inside Flap

The science is clear: like it or not, climate change is real and ongoing. Yet the likely impact of that change on the diversity of plant and animal life has been all but lost in the opposing voices of catastrophists and deniers. Now Richard Pearson dispenses with partisan quarrelling and instead takes a level-headed look at what may lie in store. Focusing on biodiversity conservation--a specific, yet far-reaching part of the issue--Pearson breaks new ground, moving beyond the old debates.
In Driven to Extinction, Pearson, a scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, meticulously assembles the evidence of how species of plants and animals have reacted to temperature changes in the past . . . and how they are likely to respond in the future, drawing upon a wide range of illuminating case studies from around the world. Paying careful attention to the methodologies employed, he points out flaws as well as successes. With Pearson's expert guidance, we visit some of the weirdest and most wonderful species on the planet, like the chameleons and geckos of Madagascar, the corals of the Indian Ocean, and the Arctic polar bears--an animal that has become something of a poster child for conservationists but still has valuable lessons to teach us about adaptability and survival.
Key to Pearson's approach is that he shows how interconnected different species of plants and animals are, how subtle yet essential those connections can be, and how severing one link in the complex chain of mutual cooperation and dependency can lead to the widespread breakdown of a once-thriving community and, ultimately, to extinction. At the same time, Pearson explores how climate change can offer some species new opportunities even as it narrows the prospects for others. The result is an unbiased overview of what scientists know--and don't know--about the impacts of climate change. Only armed with this knowledge can we be fully prepared to make the decisions--and take the actions--best suited to meet the challenges that face us.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Very important book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener
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4.0 out of 5 stars driven to read this book, wildlife extinction and eventually ours?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2013
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