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Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: a New Agenda for Biodiversity

by Roger L. DiSilvestro

  • ISBN: 9780471572442
  • ISBN10: 0471572446

Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: a New Agenda for Biodiversity

by Roger L. DiSilvestro

  • List Price: $24.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
  • Publish date: 06/01/1993
  • ISBN: 9780471572442
  • ISBN10: 0471572446
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Description: Despite the billions in public funds spent each year on the administration of our nation's wildlands and the protection of endangered wildlife, plant and animal species continue to disappear at a staggering rate. While the reasons for this trend are not always quite so clear, obscured as they are in a tangled web of conflicting political agendas, ideological imperatives, and commercial interests, its ultimate consequences are all too clear - a seriously diminished way of life for our own species. Where did we go wrong, and how must we reorient ourselves politically, scientifically, and ethically if we are to salvage what is left of our wild places before it's too late? In Reclaiming the Last Wild Places, leading environmentalist Roger DiSilvestro offers answers to these crucial questions and many more. In tracing the history of conservation and federal land management in America from the nineteenth century to the present, DiSilvestro highlights the fundamental misconceptions, tactical errors, and fatal compromises that were made along the way. Foremost among these has been the historic practice of creating isolated pockets of wilderness, exposed on all sides to the dangerous influences of human "progress". Rather than creating wildlife sanctuaries, such places become ecological prisons affording animals far from sufficient room and resources within which to thrive. Add to this the time-honored philosophy of "most economic use" and the constant concessions made by Washington to the powerful logging, cattle, and mining lobbies, and it starts to become clear why traditional land management practices have consistently fallen far short of the mark. As a remedy DiSilvestro proposes an"applied biodiversity" approach which would concentrate efforts on protecting ecosystems rather than individual species or unique geological features. Practically, this would entail a combination of various new approaches outlined in the book, including ecosystem "gap analysis" - an inexpensive, underutilized technique for detecting and filling in the gaps of ecosystems - as well as the construction of wilderness corridors that would allow animals safe passage from one wilderness area to another. At the same time, strict legislative reforms are needed to reverse more than a century of mismanagement. Combining a concise history of conservation in America - including compelling portraits of such conservationist-heroes as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, and others - along with a comprehensive plan to reform outdated conservation practices, Reclaiming the Last Wild Places is essential reading for anyone who believes that the future of our species depends on our learning how to live in harmony with nature.
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