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Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the Earth

Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the Earth

5.0 1
by World Wildlife Fund
Our planet is a precious jewel, a unique oasis of life in a seemingly barren cosmos. Looking at Earth from outer space, one astronaut described it as "piercingly beautiful." But a rapidly growing human population has put a strain on Earth's resources and has wrought alarming and permanent changes in the environment. Untold species of plants and animals have been


Our planet is a precious jewel, a unique oasis of life in a seemingly barren cosmos. Looking at Earth from outer space, one astronaut described it as "piercingly beautiful." But a rapidly growing human population has put a strain on Earth's resources and has wrought alarming and permanent changes in the environment. Untold species of plants and animals have been wiped out forever, and others are in imminent danger of becoming extinct. Ecologist Gordan Orians has suggested that we may be entering a new geologic age — the Homigicene — with humankind as the great leveler. "We are carrying so many organisms around the world and depositing them in so many places where they did not formerly live that we are blurring the distinctness of the different regions. At the time, we are destroying habitats where diversity might be maintained."

Long at the forefront of nature conservation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched its revolutionary Living Planet Campaign in response to this dire situation. Instead of focusing on individual species and fragments of land and water, WWF scientists have identified 237 ecoregions — known for simplicity's sake as the Global 200 — that best exemplify the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecoregions on Earth. (For your convenience, a removable, full-color map of Global 200 is included in the back of this book.) The organization is working with governments, industry, and local people around the world to protect these regions from further damage — the equivalent of creating a fleet of arks safeguarding an irreplaceable cargo for a voyage into the future.

Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the earth highlightsthe precious web of life that WWF's campaign seeks to help save. Lavishly illustrated throughout with stunning four-color photographs, the book features the work of three acclaimed nature photographers: Frans Lanting, Galen Rowell, and David Doubilet. All pioneers in outdoor photography, they have captured on film the fragility and wonder of life on Earth, from the forests of the Andes to the coral reefs of Australia. By bringing the beauty of the Global 200 into living rooms around the world, WWF hopes that readers will be inspired to share in its determination to leave our children a living planet.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The World Wildlife Fund has been working to preserve a selection of unique and biologically diverse terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats, a project called Global 200. This book of photographs is a paean to that endeavor. It's visually stunning, as the work of Galen Rowell, Frans Lanting, and David Doubilet is expected to be, and the text is well-intended, forgettable pap: "We occupy an extraordinary planet, a spherical garden teeming with life." The thrust here is nature magnificent, shorn of tooth and claw and all the rough edges, in her finest clothes and most beguiling company: Lanting concentrates on the humors and conviviality found in plants and animals; Rowell works with the potentially outrageous effects of natural light on the landscape; and Doubilet shoots the otherworld of the marine subsurface. The unfortunate, and unintended, message percolating from these pages is that conservation organizations like the WWF have given up on man's instinctive willingness to do right by planet Earth. Like refugees running from the onslaught, they are grabbing their most precious tokens of remembrance and stealing them off to an uncertain future, while they can.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
9.29(w) x 12.35(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

Foreward by Walter Cronkite

Man is the enemy of the environment and Man is winning. Principally through his efforts, not always intentional, Earth is losing one hundred species of animals, plants, insects, and fungi every day. Experts estimate that the world has lost one-third of its biological wealth over the past thirty years; that one in five species will become extinct in the next thirty years; that one in eight known species of plant is imperiled.

Earth already has lost two-thirds of its original forest cover and we are now losing what remains at an astounding rate of 1.3 acres per second. Almost 70 percent of the world's coral reefs, "rain forests of the sea," either have been destroyed or are endangered. All but two of the world's fifteen major fisheries are at the point of collapse.

The slaughter must cease. Only Man can declare an armistice.

Unless peace is achieved, this massive extinction crisis will pose a major threat to human beings themselves in the twenty-first century. A Harris survey of biologists across the nation showed that seven out of ten are so convinced.

We are attacking the environment with a multitude of high-powered, lethal weapons: pollution, deforestation, global warming, unregulated development, overconsumption of resources, destruction of habitat, to name a few of the more insidious.

There have been many alarms and much hand-wringing. And there are not a few valiant efforts at action. Almost exclusively they have concentrated on so-called "hot spots" -- endangered areas of high species concentration.

World Wildlife Fund, however, has developed a new approach -- a concentration on two hundredareas that collectively represent the broadest possible range of the Earth's most distinctive ecosystems. They are the places we must save to preserve a representative sampling of the diversity of life. Indeed, it is the conservationist's vision of Noah's ark.

This Global 200 campaign includes some of the glamorous, muchpublicized places like the tropical rain forests of Brazil and central Africa and the Atlantic and Pacific coral reefs. However, it also includes less well-known although no less spectacular places like the vast Siberian forest, the teeming waters of the Bering Sea, and the unique rivers and streams of the southeastern United States.

This exciting book takes us to many of these endangered areas targeted for salvation by WWF's armistice. It is that organization's hope that these images of nature's incredible beauty will help rally public support for the Global 200 objective -- no less a goal than saving our planet.

As Harvard's world-renowned biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson says: "World Wildlife Fund has exercised its impressive research capability to create the most comprehensive strategy to date for the conservation of the world's biodiversity."

Meet the Author

Known worldwide by its panda logo, World Wildlife Fund is the largest privately supported international conservation organization in the world. WWF has sponsored more than 2,000 projects in 116 countries and has more than a million members in the United States alone. From working to save the giant panda, tiger, and rhino to helping establish and manage parks and reserves, WWF has been a conservation leader for nearly four decades.

Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His work has appeared in books, magazines, and exhibits around the world. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His most recent book is the best-selling Eye to Eye: Intimate Encounters with the animal World (1997).

Galen Rowell's stunning wilderness and mountain photography has earned him international acclaim. In 1984 he received the Ansel Adams Award for his contribution to the art of wilderness photography. He is the author of thirteen books of photographs, including the best-selling Mountain Light (1986) and his most recent regional best-seller Bay Area Wild (1997).

David Doubilet is recognized as one of the best undersea photographers in the world. His work has appeared in a variety of international publications, including National Geographic, for which he has produced more than fifty stories. His books include Light in the Sea (1989), Pacific: An Undersea Journey (1992), and Water Light Time (1999).

Noel Grove has written for National Geographic for twenty-five years. He has published four books, including thebest-selling Wildlands for Wildlife (1983). He is the cofounder of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the Earth 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its interesting that this book made it to the top. I saw this book because my daughter had it and I spent a great deal of time with it over the holidays. I find both this book and its inside endorsements interesting. You have a lot of people on board here were are not only politically connected but setting the pace, like Edward Wilson, for what is going on in the biodiversity crisis worldwide today. Of course there are many ways to tell this story-- if the reader is interested you can lay the whole story out like this WWF book does, or you can tell the story encapsulated in the story of the individual scientist as Jane Goodall did so well this year and as Johnson and Coates do in their biodiversity chapter of Nabokov's Blues. Seen in the nutshell of individual scientists or in the wide world view here presented by WWF, the spectre is just as urgent. It easy to see why there is such concern about the fate of the world's ecology; its just slightly less easy to see how even the most well connected people and well-told stories may make a dent in this awful problem plaguing the planet today. Perhaps education is the first step.