Biosphere: Ecosystems and Biodiversity Loss

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Earth's astonishing diversity of life-in coral reefs, Arctic tundra, tropical rain forests, deep-sea hot springs, and other environments-is amazing for its beauty and for the ecosystem services it provides. People, however, exploit organisms and ecosystems for food, clothing, shelter, medicines, and fuel. As a result of human activities, species extinctions are occurring at a rate 10 to 100 times faster than in the planet's recent history. Biosphere candidly explores these pressing issues in a clear, accessible format. The information covered in this eye-opening book discusses how ecosystems must be set aside, habitats restored, and global warming thwarted.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heather N. Kolich
This title in the "Our Fragile Planet" series will be adored by those who wish to make the case against human occupation of Earth. The book is divided into three sections: 1) Evolution, Organisms, and Ecosystems; 2) The Sixth Extinction; and 3) Saving Biodiversity. While much of the information has value—in the first section Desonie successfully teases apart various interrelated ecosystems to explain their functional dynamics—the focus on human activities, particularly over the past two to three decades, makes it more appropriate for learning about anthropology or praxeology than for studying biologic systems. The overriding theme is that humans are destroying Earth. Using drawings and one-sided data, the author builds cases for theories of evolution, global warming and future mass extinctions caused by human activities while avoiding data and fallacies that refute these theories and ignoring or aggressively dismissing opposing schools of thought. Very little data relating to historic cycles of climate change or the several mass extinctions is presented. Some maps lack labels, keys or both. Recent downward corrections in U.S. temperature data collected since 2001 by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (necessitated by data collection irregularities and errors in reporting) nullify at least one of the statements presented in the book: Thirteen of the hottest years since temperature record keeping began in 1880 did not occur between 1990 and 2006. They are spread across several decades starting in the 1920s (see Some conclusions—such as the claim that Monteverde Golden Toads disappeared because of globalwarming—are unsupported by data. The third part of the book is better balanced than the preceding section. The discussion of the limitations of preserved land to sustain biodiversity and the political difficulties in deciding which areas to preserve is well presented and enlightening. Readers of other titles in this series will recognize some tracts in the text as well as the list of behaviors they should change and instructions for doing so. Reviewer: Heather N. Kolich
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816062195
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Series: Our Fragile Planet Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     x
Evolution, Organisms, and Ecosystems     1
The Origin and Evolution of Life     3
Life on Earth     20
Earth's Ecosystems     32
The Sixth Extinction     51
Extinction in Earth History     53
Loss of Habitat     64
Pollution     78
Climate Change     93
Over-harvesting Animals and Plants     102
Invasive Species     122
Saving Biodiversity     133
Why Biodiversity Is Important     135
Saving Endangered and Threatened Species     141
Preserving Lands     148
The Future of Biodiversity Conservation     160
Conclusion     171
Appendix     175
Glossary     182
Further Reading     195
Index     201
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