192 pages, Col illus
A remarkable exploration of the past, present and future of nature's remarkable diversity and how humans will impact upon its uncertain future. Written by a team of international experts, the book is divided into three main sections. The first section explores the origins of biodiversity and the evolution of life on Earth, from 3.5 billion years ago to the present day. It explains how species are formed, including the complex role of genetics, and how diversity hotspots such as the Amazonia region and Sahara desert have developed. The second section examines ecology and how human activities can foster rather than threaten biodiversity.
It explains the importance of the world's ecosystems and how they function, and suggests how we can enjoy and appreciate nature to the full. In the final section, Fate, the book discusses the major threats to our natural world, both now and in the future, and considers possible solutions. Fully illustrated with photographs diagrams and maps, "Fragile Web" provides a timely snapshot of the state of life on Earth and considers what may be next for our natural world.
Nearly every book about wildlife concentrates on species...Fragile Web is different, examining life on Earth as a whole and asking the big questions: what is it? How did it arise? How does it fit together? And what are we doing to it. Because the answers are detailed and very full they can sometimes seem complicated and a little challenging...But it is well worth the effort, not least because the book includes the very latest research...it is rendered a great deal more accessible by the wealth of illustrations, wildlife photographs, maps and diagrams, all of which are beautifully chosen. Michael McCarthy - BBC Knowledge Magazine "I'm not someone with a natural interest in science but have to say I absolutely loved this book...accessible and engaging...the photography is stunning...I'm sure it could help to provoke debates in science and geography classes." The Teacher: magazine of the National Union of Teachers
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The book is a collaboration by experts at The Open University. Editor and contributor Jonathan Silvertown is an evolutionary biologist in the Department of Life Sciences and is internationally known for his research on the evolution and ecology of plants.