409 pages, 16 plates with 16 colour photos and colour illustrations; 9 b/w illustrations, tables
Disentangling the facts from the hype, this 'Domesday book' of the British and Irish countryside offers a definitive and up-to-date survey of the state of our wildlife today. Norman Maclean, editor of the bestselling Silent Summer, examines the latest findings of Britain and Ireland's top wildlife experts and interprets them for a wider audience. Each chapter provides reliable estimates of animal populations, showing which species are thriving and which are in decline. A Less Green and Pleasant Land also considers the effects of climate change on our wildlife and how human population growth is influencing its development. Beautifully illustrated with colour plates and wood engravings throughout, this accessible and timely study reveals just how rapidly our countryside and its wildlife are changing, why we should be concerned, and what we can do about it.
Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a hardback version.
"I hope that you will read, consider, mull and mould all [the book's] ideas in your minds and then feel empowered and motivated to help move wildlife conservation in the UK into a new era [...] before it's too late"
– Chris Packham, Naturalist, Wildlife Photographer and TV Presenter, from the Foreword
"Providing an audit of the British Isles' wildlife, the author explains both the status and reasons for species' declines and increases clearly and authoritatively."
– Derek Niemann, BBC Wildlife Magazine
"In this important book about an assumed once-pleasant land, biologist Norman Maclean runs his expert eye over the state of Britain's nature."
– Times Higher Education
"[...] illuminating [...] very readable [...] should be on the shelves of anyone who cares about wildlife, especially policymakers who hold its future in their hands."
– Brett Westwood, BBC Countryfile Magazine
"A Less Green and Pleasant Land covers an impressively broad sweep of topics, not only documenting the biological wealth of Britain and Ireland, but also the full range of what human actions past, present and future could mean for this heritage [...] Rich with personal experiences and anecdotes, the core of the book is a plea to everyone who cares about the world they live in to take note and take action."
– Mark Wilson, BTO News
Foreword Chris Packham
1. Living with change
2. A short dose of Earth history
3. Climate change
4. Down on the farm and into the woods
5. Plant and animal introductions (and recent arrivals)
6. Our overcrowded isles – human population and aspiration
7. The availability of fresh water
8. Hunting, shooting and fishing: the enigma of field sports and wildlife
9. Wildlife conservation at home and overseas
So how is our wildlife faring? The details:
12. Reptiles and amphibians
13. Freshwater fish
14. Butterflies and moths
15. Other insects – dragonflies, beetles, bees etc.
16. Other invertebrates – spiders, snails, crayfish etc.
17. Trees, shrubs and flowering plants
19. Life in the open sea
20. Where sea meets land
21. Top wildlife sites
22. What does the future hold?
Latin names of species
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Norman Maclean is Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Southampton and a lifelong wildlife enthusiast. He has visited and studied wildlife in more than 50 countries around the world and has given numerous radio and TV interviews on the subject. He is the editor of Silent Summer (2010).