The Diversity of Life

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1999 - Science - 424 pages
8 Reviews
In this book a master scientist tells the story of how life on earth evolved. Edward O. Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse and why that diversity is threatened today as never before. A great spasm of extinction -- the disappearance of whole species -- is occurring now, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted, the loss of biodiversity is a far more complex problem -- and it is irreversible. Defining a new environmental ethic, Wilson explains why we must rescue whole ecosystems, not only individual species. He calls for an end to conservation versus development arguments, and he outlines the massive shift in priorities needed to address this challenge. No writer, no scientist, is more qualified than Edward O. Wilson to describe, as he does here, the grandeur of evolution and what is at stake. "Engaging and nontechnical prose. . . . Prodigious erudition. . . . Original and fascinating insights." -- John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, front page review "Eloquent. . . . A profound and enduring contribution." -- Alan Burdick, Audubon
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thatotter - LibraryThing

It kills me to have to leave a book unfinished, but this book was due back at the library, and I wasn't enjoying it so much as to go through the effort of reordering it to finish reading. There are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stuster - LibraryThing

A wonderful and deeply disturbing book. It commences with a detailed explanation of how life came to be so stunningly diverse and ends by confronting us with the brutal reality of the destruction of ... Read full review

Contents

Storm over the Amazon
3
Krakatau
16
The Great Extinctions
24
The Fundamental Unit
35
New Species
51
The Forces of Evolution
75
Adaptive Radiation
94
The Unexplored Biosphere
131
The Life and Death of Species
215
Biodiversity Threatened
243
Unmined Riches
281
Resolution
311
The Environmental Ethic
343
Notes
355
Glossary
391
Acknowledgments
408

The Creation of Ecosystems
163
Biodiversity Reaches The Peak
183

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About the author (1999)

Edward O. Wilson is the Pellegrino University Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University.

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