Saturday, June 14, 2014
1) Stokes, Dale and Doc White. The Fish in the Forest: Salmon and the Web of Life. 2014. University of California Press. Hardbound: 160 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Fish in the Forest is an elegantly written, beautifully illustrated exploration of the complex web of relationships between the salmon of the Pacific Northwest and the surrounding ecosystem. Dale Stokes shows how nearly all aspects of this fragile ecosystem—from streambeds to treetops, from sea urchins to orcas to bears, from rain forests to kelp forests—are intimately linked with the biology of the Pacific salmon. Illustrated with 70 stunning color photographs by Doc White, The Fish in the Forest demonstrates how the cycling of nutrients between the ocean and the land, mediated by the life and death of the salmon, is not only key to understanding the landscape of the north Pacific coast, but is also a powerful metaphor for all of life on earth.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to the ecology of salmon.
2) Wires, Linda R.. The Double-crested Cormorant: Plight of a Feathered Pariah. 2014. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 349 pages. Price: $30.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The double-crested cormorant, found only in North America, is an iridescent black waterbird superbly adapted to catch fish. It belongs to a family of birds vilified since biblical times and persecuted around the world. Thus it was perhaps to be expected that the first European settlers in North America quickly deemed the double-crested cormorant a competitor for fishing stock and undertook a relentless drive to destroy the birds. This enormously important book explores the roots of human-cormorant conflicts, dispels myths about the birds, and offers the first comprehensive assessment of the policies that have been developed to manage the double-crested cormorant in the twenty-first century.
Conservation biologist Linda Wires provides a unique synthesis of the cultural, historical, scientific, and political elements of the cormorant’s story. She discusses the amazing late-twentieth-century population recovery, aided by protection policies and environment conservation, but also the subsequent U.S. federal policies under which hundreds of thousands of the birds have been killed. In a critique of the science, management, and ethics underlying the double-crested cormorant’s treatment today, Wires exposes “management” as a euphemism for persecution and shows that the current strategies of aggressive predator control are outdated and unsupported by science.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in this species.