Diversity of Life / Edition 1

Diversity of Life / Edition 1

3.8 4
by Edward O. Wilson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0393319407

ISBN-13: 2900393319407

Pub. Date: 05/01/1999

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Harvard Professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Wilson takes readers through time--tracing the processes that create new species, the five cataclysmic events that have disrupted evolution over the past 600 million years, and how humans are destroying diversity at a projected rate of 20 percent over the next 30 years.
"In the Amazon Basin the greatest…  See more details below

Overview

Harvard Professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Wilson takes readers through time--tracing the processes that create new species, the five cataclysmic events that have disrupted evolution over the past 600 million years, and how humans are destroying diversity at a projected rate of 20 percent over the next 30 years.
"In the Amazon Basin the greatest violence sometimes begins as a flicker of light beyond the horizon. There in the perfect bowl of the night sky, untouched by light from any human source, a thunderstorm sends its premonitory signal and begins a slow journey to the observer, who thinks: the world is about to change." Watching from the edge of the
Brazilian rain forest, witness to the sort of violence nature visits upon its creatures, Edward O. Wilson reflects on the crucible of evolution, and so begins his remarkable account of how the living world became diverse and how humans are destroying that diversity. Wilson, internationally regarded as the dean of biodiversity studies, conducts us on a tour through time, traces the processes that create new species in bursts of adaptive radiation, and points out the cataclysmic events that have disrupted evolution and diminished global diversity over the past 600 million years. The five enormous natural blows to the planet (such as meteorite strikes and climatic changes) required 10 to 100 million years of evolutionary repair. The sixth great spasm of extinction on earth--caused this time entirely by humans--may be the one that breaks the crucible of life. Wilson identifies this crisis in
countless ecosystems around the globe: coral reefs, grasslands, rain forests, and other natural habitats. Drawing on a variety of examples such as the decline of bird populations in the United States, the extinction of many species of freshwater fish in Africa and Asia, and the rapid disappearance of flora and fauna as the rain forests are cut down, he poignantly describes the death throes of the living worlds diversity--projected to decline as much as 20 percent by the year 2020. All evidence marshaled here resonates through Wilson's tightly reasoned call for a spirit of stewardship over the worlds biological wealth. He makes a plea for specific actions that will enhance rather than diminish not just diversity but the quality of life on earth. Cutting through the tangle of environmental issues that often obscure the real concern, Wilson maintains that the era of confrontation between forces for the preservation of nature and those for economic development is over; he convincingly drives home the point that both aims can, and must, be integrated. Unparalleled in its range and depth, Wilson's masterwork is essential reading for those who care about preserving the worlds biological variety and ensuring our planets health.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900393319407
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/1999
Series:
Questions of Science Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
432

Table of Contents

Violent Nature, Resilient Life

1. Storm over the Amazon

2. Krakatau

3. The Great Extinctions

Biodiversity Rising

4. The Fundamental Unit

5. New Species

6. The Forces of Evolution

7. Adaptive Radiation

8. The Unexplored Biosphere

9. The Creation of Ecosystems

10. Biodiversity Reaches the Peak

The Human Impact

11. The Life and Death of Species

12. Biodiversity Threatened

13. Unmined Riches

14. Resolution

15. The Environmental Ethic

Notes

Glossary

Acknowledgments

Credits

Index

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The Diversity of Life 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Einstein's theory of relativity has never been proven. Nor has the theory that atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. Nor the theory that light is at once a wave and a particle. However, all people with a functioning brain know that very nature of the word 'theory' is such that a theory can never be proven, only disproven. Of course evolution has not been proven! No real scientist could be so arrogant. But the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. I challenge anyone, anyone, to offer even a shred of evidence that life is not evolving. E. O. Wilson is one of the greatest minds of our times, and all should heed his call for greater stewardship of our planet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is still no proof of the Theory of Evolution. Not one single example of a species becoming more complex in the world. How did the human eye evolve from an amoeba to a human? Are there any species ever identified with part of an eye. Disappointed in such an intellectual using this unproved Theory to show biodiversity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a masterfully written and compelling story about the way we humans are responsible for the destruction of our natural world. a must read for all who live on this earth.