All life depends on plants, but we often take them for granted in our everyday lives. It is easy to ignore the fact that we are facing a crisis: scientists estimate that one third of all flowering plant species are threatened with extinction. This lavishly illustrated volume considers the essential conservation role of botanic gardens, telling the story of how a global network is working to save our botanical heritage. Chapters feature gardens from countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Uganda, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and China.
Comments and photographs from the gardeners involved give the book a personal touch, revealing the human side of the important work that goes on behind the scenes of these spectacular gardens. Author Sara Oldfield shows us how botanic gardens are truly "modern-day arks," safeguarding species and saving resources on which we may someday depend.
Deserts represent the ultimate challenge to life on Earth. Their lack of water and extreme temperatures make survival difficult for both wildlife and people, yet deserts are rich in animal and plant life and culture. Their unique species and ancient civilizations include fragile treasures needing protection in a rapidly changing world. Deserts are among our planet's last great wilderness regions, and they continue to offer scientific puzzles and new discoveries. Deserts: The Living Drylands is a celebration of the world's least understood ecosystems. In this richly illustrated book—featuring 180 color photographs—wildlife expert Sara Oldfield leads readers on a journey to some of the most remote places on earth, from the rolling sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula's Empty Quarter to the ancient rock formations of central Australia. Deserts is both a vivid inventory of spectacular images, facts, and stories and an invaluable source of reference. It brings to life our planet's unique arid habitats at a time when they are more in need of protection than ever.
The book begins with a survey of deserts around the world, describing desert exploration over the centuries, the geographical distribution and diversity of deserts, their ancient and evolving landscapes, water in the desert, desert ecology and adaptations, people, and resources. Deserts then explores deserts and drylands in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, looking at wildlife, landforms, and traditional cultures. Finally, it focuses on the future of deserts, discussing conservation, desertification, the protection of desert ecosystems and landscapes, tourism, and species conservation. The stunning landscapes and highly adaptive biodiversity of deserts are brought to life vividly by the evocative text and dazzling photographs.
More than half of the world's living species—from the hidden forests and exotic mammals of Madagascar to the multicolored birds and butterflies of Central America—are found almost exclusively within the rainforest canopy. Illustrated with 200 spectacular color photographs, Rainforest celebrates the diversity and beauty of the life in the world's rainforests. Each chapter covers a major rainforest region: Africa, Madagascar, India and Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Central America, the Caribbean, the Amazon (which has more plant and animal species than anywhere else on Earth), and Brazil, as well as the temperate rainforests in areas such as Tasmania and North America. The book details habitat, plants and animals, and threats to the precarious balance between humans and rainforests. The introduction provides an overview of the world's rainforests and a summary of current conservation issues. Reference material includes a color world map showing the major rainforests, suggested further reading, and useful addresses.