257 pages, no illustrations
Revealed Biodiversity: An Economic History of the Human Impact aims to show that for several centuries environmental conditions have been substantially the product of economic fluctuations. It contests the notion of perpetual decline in species composition. The arguments are supported by far more precise historical detail than is usual in books about ecology. The need to take the gains to human society into account when assessing environmental change is strongly emphasized. The book features case studies including England, the Netherlands, USA, East Asia, Brazil, and the areas of modern agricultural 'land grab'. Revealed Biodiversity: An Economic History of the Human Impact is important for its close attention to the documented historical record of environmental change in several countries over several centuries; for its demonstration of how much wildlife populations have been influenced by fluctuations in market activity; for revealing the need to be sensitive to historical baselines; and for emphasizing the imperative of taking the gains to human society into account when assessing environmental change. It, therefore, has considerable significance for environmental and conservation policies as well as for future studies in ecological history.
"[...] The book can be described as an economic history of the environment, but, if that makes it sound a dull academic treatise, it is certainly not. Jones sets out to explain how, for several centuries, environmental conditions have been substantially the product of economic fluctuations. [...] The book deserves a much wider readership than is likely to be gained by its having an 'academic' title, an obscure publisher, and a high price. It should be read by all those involved in conservation at any level, and who like to be made to think and to have their (conscious or unconscious) prejudices challenged."
– John Price, British Wildlife 25(6), August 2014
"This remarkable book by Eric Jones is the first comprehensive treatment of human impact on global biodiversity from the perspective of economic history. Jones traces both the benefits and costs of this exploitation, taking into account the global spread of Europeans and the impact of growth and income of East Asia today. This book is important reading for anyone interested in how the world has reached – and should deal with – our current ecological and biodiversity crises."
– Edward B Barbier, John S Bugas Professor of Economics, University of Wyoming, USA, and author of Scarcity and Frontiers: How Economies Have Developed through Natural Resource Exploitation
"Revealed Biodiversity offers an outstanding synthesis, one that takes the debate forward in leaps and bounds and challenges false assumptions on all sides. Eric Jones is ideally equipped for the task, for he combines a supreme grasp of economic and social history with a thoroughly-grounded knowledge of the many problems raised by the history of biodiversity and moves between the illuminating local case study and the large-scale perspective with consummate ease."
– Robert A Dodgshon, Emeritus Professor of Human Geography, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK
"Revealed Biodiversity refers both to the possibilities of enjoying nature in the modern world and the importance of understanding it through a well-argued and accessibly written economic history. Environmentalists will not find this book a comfortable read, but it is an essential one if they are to engage meaningfully with the issue of biodiversity."
– Patrick Dillon, Professor of Applied Education Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
"It is best to view Revealed Biodiversity as a starting point for future studies of biodiversity that takes seriously the mutual interaction between the economy and the surrounding environment. In this respect, the book is in the best tradition of environmental histories which examine the complex interplay between the economy, society, and the environment."
The Long Term:
Proper Baselines: The Example of English Butterflies
England and the Netherlands:
Commodity Landscapes: Southern England
Agricultural Change: Southern England
Landscapes of Destruction: The Curse of the Pheasant
Landscapes of Destruction: The Sacrifice to Trout
The Netherlands: Reclamation and Exploitation
England: Reclamation and Exploitation
Europe's Expansion Overseas
Europe's Distant Reach
The Modern World:
The Modern Expansion of Agriculture
What Should We Conserve?
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Eric Jones is Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University, and former Professorial Fellow of Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne. Besides the D Phil. he holds the higher doctorate, D Litt, of the University of Oxford, where he also received the Vaughan Cornish Award for environmental history. He has had a lifetime's academic career in the UK, USA, and Australia and has published many books and articles on economic history, economic development, international affairs, agricultural history and environmental history. His avocation is as an ornithologist and he has been Field Secretary of the Oxford Ornithological Society and Honorary Archivist of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union. His previous book with World Scientific was Locating the Industrial Revolution: Inducement and Response (2010).