<p>Among the few organizations with substantial experience in conserving and managing large ecosystems is The Nature Conservancy (TNC)-the largest private, nonprofit conservation organization in the world dedicated to preserving natural areas, whose efforts have led to the protection of more than nine million acres of land across the United States and Canada.<p>For more than fourteen years, W. William Weeks has worked in various capacities for The Nature Conservancy-as state director, chief operating officer, and, currently, as vice president and director of The Center for Compatible Economic Development. During that time he has developed a deeply personal understanding of TNC's underlying philosophy and guiding methodology, and has come to appreciate the complex interaction between landscapes and people that characterize all conservation efforts. In Beyond the Ark, Weeks weaves together anecdotes, personal reflection, and fascinating detail from past and current Nature Conservancy projects to present a lively and inspiring introduction to issues of land conservation and management, and to The Nature Conservancy's approach to conservation.<p>The author begins with a general introduction to conservation, to conservation planning, to the history and philosophy of The Nature Conservancy, and to the popular but often vaguely defined notion of ecosystem management. He then presents a detailed account of the conservation planning discipline that is at the heart of The Nature Conservancy's approach. Weeks offers in-depth description and analysis of the planning process that TNC goes through for each project-a process designed to lead to a comprehensive understanding of the ecological system under consideration, threats to it and their causes, strategies for addressing those threats, and a means of measuring success. He ends with a consideration of the implications of the approach described, and presents his own thoughts on various aspects of the larger context in which conservation efforts must function.<p>Beyond the Ark is an insightful and illuminating overview of conservation and management issues. Featuring a wealth of practical information gleaned from a wide range of real-life projects, it provides invaluable guidance to all those working to protect our endangered natural resources.