The Natural History of Madagascar

The Natural History of Madagascar

by Steven M. Goodman
     
 

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Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized… See more details below

Overview


Separated from the mainland of Africa for 160 million years, Madagascar has evolved an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on earth. For instance, of its estimated 12,000 plant species, nearly 10,000 are unique to Madagascar. Malagasy animals are just as spectacular, from its almost forty currently recognized species of lemurs—a primate group found only here—to the numerous species of tiny dwarf chameleons. With astounding frequency scientists discover a previously unknown species in Madagascar—and at almost the same rate another natural area of habitat is degraded or destroyed, a combination that recently led conservation organizations to name Madagascar one of the most important and threatened conservation priorities on the planet.

The Natural History of Madagascar provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date synthesis available of this island nation's priceless biological treasures. Contributions by nearly three hundred world-renowned experts cover the history of scientific exploration in Madagascar, its geology and soils, climate, forest ecology, human ecology, marine and coastal ecosystems, plants, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Detailed discussions of conservation efforts in Madagascar highlight several successful park reserve programs that could serve as models for other areas. Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations, with fifty color photos by nature photographer Harald Schütz, as well as more than three hundred black-and-white photographs and line drawings.

The Natural History of Madagascar will be the invaluable reference for anyone interested in the Malagasy environment, from biologists and conservationists to policymakers and ecotourists.

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Editorial Reviews

BBC Wildlife Magazine

"The most thorough and comprehensive account of the natural history of Madagascar yet, and it will set the standard for many years to come."
New Scientist - Adrian Barnett

"Sprinkled with colour photographs, The Natural History of Madagascar is an extraordinary compendium, complete and complex. Steven Goodman and Jonathan Benstead cover geological and human histories, as well as all major groups of animals and plants. . . . The introductory chapters for each of the major taxonomic groups will help to guide the novice reader into the glories and safely past the specialist shoals. . . . This wonderful book provides a magnificent overview of one of the strangest and most glorious chunks of the planet--a place that is so much more than a load of old lemurs."
Chicago Reader - Harold Henderson

". . . spectacular images . . ."
The New York Times - Carol Kaesuk Yoon

"In The Natural History of Madagascar researchers have captured the recent explosion of scientific knowledge about the unique organisms of this rugged island. In 1,700 pages, the book moves from the broad brush strokes of the island's geological history to detailed accounts of its organisms, including its famous aye-aye lemurs, its fantastical baobab trees, and its twelve-foot-tall elephant bird."
Nature - Tim Flannery

"For those who are serious about getting to know this fascinating island, there is no better resource than The Natural History of Madagascar.  It is the closest thing to a comprehensive natural history of the region ever produced."
Quarterly Review of Biology - Summer J. Arrigo-Nelson

"Given the severe threats facing the survival of Madagascar's biodiversity, this book could not have come at a better time. . . . Its accessible language and thorough coverage of the topics, in combination with its affordable price, ensures that The Natural History of Madagascar will become an indispensable resource and educational tool for all those with an interest in Madagascar."

Science

"A scientific milestone and by far the largest synthesis of tropical biology research ever."
Economist

"A vast and comprehensive work that will be a key reference on the country's biodiversity for years to come. It will also stand testament to the future efforts of conservationists to protect the island's unique natural heritage."
Plant Systematics and Evolution - Peter V. Bruyns

"For anyone interested in the botany of Madagascar, I would strongly recommend this book. It contains a vast amount of information on the flora of the island and is also a major source of references to literature on the Madagascan flora."
Biological Conservation - Sandra Knapp

"As a resource . . . it stands alone. . . . This is no neo-colonial view of the island, but a modern, integrated--both biologically and culturally--look at one of the most fascinating places on Earth. . . . The book is copiously illustrated with stunning colour photographs. . . . Every scientist concerned with diversity should have this book on their shelves."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226303079
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
02/15/2007
Pages:
1728
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 2.40(d)

Meet the Author


Steven M. Goodman is a field biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History and a coordinator of the ecology training program at the WWF-Madagascar. He is coeditor of Natural Changes and Human Impact in Madagascar. Jonathan P. Benstead is a postdoctoral scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.

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