Our future is closely tied to that of the variety of life on Earth, and yet there is no greater threat to it than us. From population explosions and habitat destruction to climate change and mass extinctions, John Spicer explores the causes and consequences of our biodiversity crisis. In this revised and updated edition, he examines how grave the situation has become over the past decade and outlines what we must do now to protect and preserve not just nature's wonders but the essential services that biodiversity provides for us, seemingly for nothing.
1 The pandemic of wounded biodiversity
2 Teeming boisterous life
3 Where on Earth is biodiversity?
4 A world that was old when we came into it: Diversity, deep time and extinction
5 Swept away and changed
6 Are the most beautiful things the most useless?
7 Our greatest hazard and our only hope?
8 No one is too small to make a difference
Going further: Suggestions for wider reading
John Spicer is a Professor of Marine Zoology at the University of Plymouth. He is co-author of the bestselling textbooks Biodiversity: An Introduction and The Invertebrates.
"If you have any doubts about the meaning of the term biodiversity or its importance to the world, here is a book that explains it in an interesting and accessible way and challenges us to protect it better."
– Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, FLS, FRSB, botanist and former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"A stimulating, authoritative and deeply rewarding read that makes you think about the natural world in a novel way."
– Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, former executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
"Spicer spells out the chilling message [...] the findings of which have been backed by respected scientists from the United Nations, Yale University and the Eden Project."
"Will appeal to intelligent non-specialists and may provide the incentive to study the subject in greater depth."
– Journal of Biological Education
"This is science for the general reader at its very best – clear, committed, fascinating and laser-focused on the crisis we face."
– Randal Keynes, great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin and author of Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin
"His gift for the telling analogy and his clear, lively writing make Biodiversity a pleasure to read."
– Stephen C. Stearns, Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University