Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Titles

 1) Bales, Stephen Lyn. Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 1935-1941. 2010. The University of Tennessee Press. Hardbound: 270 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: In 1935 naturalist James T. Tanner was a twenty-one-year-old graduate student when he saw his first ivory-billed woodpecker, one of America’s rarest birds, in a remote swamp in northern Louisiana. At the time he was part of an ambitious expedition traveling across the country to record and photograph as many avian species as possible, a trip organized by Dr. Arthur Allen, founder of the famed Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Two years later Tanner hit the road again, this time by himself and in search of only one species—that ever-elusive ivory-bill. Sponsored by Cornell and the Audubon Society, Jim Tanner’s work would result in some of the most extensive field research of the magnificent woodpecker ever conducted.
     Drawing on Tanner’s personal journals and written with the cooperation of his widow, Nancy, Ghost Birds recounts, in fascinating detail, the scientist’s dogged quest for the ivory-bill as he chased down leads in eight southern states. With Stephen Lyn Bales as our guide, we experience the same awe and excitement that Tanner felt when he returned to the Louisiana wetland he had visited earlier and was able to observe and document several of the “ghost birds”—including a nestling that he handled, banded, and photographed at close range. Investigating the ivory-bill was particularly urgent because it was a fast-vanishing species, the victim of indiscriminant specimen hunting and widespread logging that was destroying its habitat. As sightings became rarer and rarer in the decades following Tanner’s remarkable research, the bird was feared to have become extinct. Since 2005, reports of sightings in Arkansas and Florida made headlines and have given new hope to ornithologists and bird lovers, although extensive subsequent investigations have yet to produce definitive confirmation.
     Before he died in 1991, Jim Tanner himself had come to believe that the majestic woodpeckers were probably gone forever, but he remained hopeful that someone would prove him wrong. This book fully captures Tanner’s determined spirit as he tracked down what was then, as now, one of ornithology’s true Holy Grails.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting read about an extinct species.

2) Marchetti, Michael P. and Peter B. Moyle. Protecting Life on Earth: An Introduction to the Science of Conservation. 2010. University of California Press. Paperback: 220 pages. Price: $49.95 U.S.

SUMMARY: Written to be accessible to any college-level reader, Protecting Life on Earth offers a non-technical, yet comprehensive introduction to the growing field of conservation science. This multifaceted exploration of our current biodiversity crisis delivers vivid examples throughout, including features on some of nature’s most compelling wildlife.
      Beginning with a brief introduction to environmental history, the text introduces the central concepts of evolution and ecology, and covers several major issues related to the conservation of biodiversity including extinction, climate change, sustainability, conservation law, and invasive species. It also touches on adjacent disciples such as economics and sociology as they relate to conservation. The text even includes practical advice on the decisions we make every day—how we spend our money, where we live and work, what we eat and buy. Throughout, Protecting Life on Earth underscores the ways in which our future is tied to that of Earth’s threatened species, and demonstrates exactly why conservation is so vitally important for us all.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the subject that many people, not just college students, will find useful!

1 comment:

  1. Do u do children's books?
    Try:
    To Find an Ivory-billed Woodpecker
    by Bobby Harrison

    ReplyDelete