Beyond the Ark: Tools for an Ecosystem
Approach to Conservation
By W. William Weeks. 1997. Island Press. 172 pp.
Beyond the Ark, by the director of The Nature Conservancy's Center for Compatible Economic Development, pins down the often vague notion of ecosystem management in a way that many conservationists should find useful. The book begins with a general introduction to conservation, conservation planning, the history and philosophy of The Nature Conservancy, and the popular yet nebulous concept of ecosystem management. It then goes into an in-depth description of the planning process framework that the Conservancy has developed for conservation planning through ecosystem management. This framework is made up of "five S's" - understanding the ecological System, identifying theStresses to it, determining the economic and social Source of the problems, developing Strategies to deal with the stresses at their source, and defining and measuring Success.
Prairie Conservation: Preserving
North America's most Endangered Ecosystem
Edited by Fred B. Samson and Fritz L. Knopf. 1996. Island Press. 339 pp.
In Prairie Conservation, the editors argue that the decline of the native prairie in North America, which exceeds that of any other major ecosystem, constitutes an ecological and economic threat that should make prairie preservation of highest priority. The chaptersÑcontributed by a variety of authors from government agencies, conservation organizations, and universitiesÑcover numerous topics. These include an environmental history of the Great Plains, the economic value of the prairie, current and historical flora and fauna, and current conservation programs. The ecological information especially is covered in great depth, with separate chapters devoted to each of four prairie types (tall grass, short grass, mixed, and wetlands), and also to birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, fish and aquatic resources, and invertebrates The ecological review is followed by an equally in-depth policy section looking at the current state of regulations and partnerships in the United States and Canada. Several authors also address challenges for conservation of this imperiled resource and suggest recommendations for future actions.
Globally Threatened Birds in
Europe: Action Plans
Edited by Borja Heredia, Laurence Rose, and Mary Painter. 1996. Council of European Publishing and Birdlife International. 408 pp.
Of the roughly 10,000 birds in the world, 514 are found in Europe. Of these, 23 species are threatened globally and are considered at risk of extinction. Action plans, developed for each of these species, are meant to be a starting point for conservation activities, to form the basis for decisions at the international level, and to provide a framework for more detailed conservation planning at the national level. Each plan gives a summary of the biology, threats, and conservation priorities for the species; an in-depth discussion is also provided, including a country-by-country analysis of conservation measures. Action plans were developed through a joint effort among governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals in hopes of encouraging rapid implementation.
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