This lavishly illustrated photographic guide provides a comprehensive overview of the natural history of wildlife habitats in Britain and Ireland. Now completely redesigned in a handy field-guide format, and featuring revised and updated text throughout, this new edition of Britain's Habitats guides readers through all the main habitat types, presenting information on their characteristics, extent, geographical variation, key species, cultural importance, origins and conservation. It aims to help visitors to the countryside recognize the habitats around them, understand how they have evolved and what makes them special, and imagine how they might change in the future. This new edition includes updated maps and additional photographs throughout, and covers a new habitat – gardens. The perfect companion for anyone travelling in Britain and Ireland, Britain's Habitats is essential reading for all wildlife enthusiasts, professional ecologists and landscape architects.
Sophie Lake and Durwyn Liley are professional ecologists who work at Footprint Ecology and live near the Purbeck Heaths and Poole Harbour in Dorset. They have worked in nature conservation for more than twenty years and this book is the result of their passion for natural history, ecology and the wild places in which they have lived, travelled and worked. Robert Still, the cofounder of WILDGuides, is an ecologist and graphic artist, and has designed more than thirty of its titles. Andy Swash, the managing director of WILDGuides, is an ecologist and wildlife photographer. Still and Swash are the coauthors of a number of books, including Britain's Butterflies and Britain's Mammals (both WILDGuides).
"A few years ago, it was my privilege to work alongside Natural England’s habitat specialists, looking at what one of them called ‘the fuzzy bits’: the ecotones and mosaics of habitat where nature confounds our attempts to categorise it. [...] we have an abundance of classifications [...] Imperfectly equivalent and often using lengthy, arcane nomenclature, these can be bewildering enough for the professional ecologist, let alone the field naturalist in need of something more succinct to jot down in the notebook. Help arrived in 2015, with the publication of the much-acclaimed Britain’s Habitats. Now in a more compact field-guide format, it provides a concise summary of all the major classifications of terrestrial habitats, and has been updated to include new ones [...] Unfortunately, any classification, especially when mapped, can give the impression that habitats are fixed with hard boundaries. They then become what entomologist Alan Stubbs has called ‘thinking boxes’ (BW 24: 303), which can blind conservationists to the presence of the fuzzy bits on which so many species depend. The authors are alert to this problem, and remind us in the introductory pages that their habitat types are best thought of as nodes on a continuum [...] the book has made the transition to the field-guide format remarkably well. But do we really need a field guide to habitats? Possibly not. I certainly will not be taking my copy into the field. Yet this perhaps misses the point. What this book does is remind the users of other field guides that their organisms of interest do not live in isolation – they are nothing without their habitats. So, make this book an essential companion to your species guides. Read it, enjoy it, take it into the field if that is your need, but do not forget to think outside its boxes: the real world is so much fuzzier."
– Anthony Robinson, British Wildlife 32(4), February 2021
Reviews of the first edition:
"Essential reading for all wildlife enthusiasts, professional ecologists and landscape architects [...] [I]t's an ideal field guide to the nation's nature."
"This is one of those books that I didn't know I needed until it arrived, and now that I do have it, I consider it an indispensable reference and simply cannot put it down as I plan my trip schedule for next year. This is also the first book of its kind that I've come across and, I am sure, will become a standard text for many other nature enthusiasts looking to make sense of the environment around them. This book sits comfortably alongside other reference works such as those on butterflies, moths, birds, plants and so on and [...] is highly recommended."
– Peter Eeles, Dispar
"Its detailed and authoritative treatment will make it a standard textbook for students and conservation professionals whilst its insightful content and attractive presentation will also guarantee its appeal to the general reader and amateur naturalist."
– Andy Stoddart, Rare Bird Alert
"This is a superb book and is for anyone who loves wildlife and discovering more about why they are seeing species where they do. It is truly a 'field' guide."
"[B]oth inspiring and a wake-up call to anyone with an interest in the natural world [...] an invaluable reference resource as well as being an enjoyable read."
– Matt Merritt, Bird Watching
"[E]xcellent and valuable [...] should be widely read by wildlife and landscape enthusiasts."
– Rob Hume, Birdwatch
"Occasionally a book comes along the like of which you have never seen before. This is such a book. The beautifully produced work is a wonderful celebration of the rich diversity of Britain and Ireland's habitats, stunningly illustrated [...] This is much more than a coffee table book [...] The breadth of coverage and knowledge imparted is quite staggering. This is an essential reference book for anyone interested in our wildlife habitats, their extent, location, conservation, and much, much more."
– Nigel Bourn, Butterfly Magazine
"The book is certainly crammed full of information and detail and any ecology student would do well to have this volume on their shelves."
– Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
"This is a must for your bookshelves."
– Highland News
"This ambitious book succeeds in describing the range of habitat types that exist in Britain and Ireland in an informative but engaging way. For anyone wanting to learn more about the fabric and texture of the countryside, the book is an excellent starting point."
– Rob Fuller, British Birds
"I found this book a great pleasure to read and will be dipping into it frequently in the future. Anyone with an interest in the outdoors will love it and I would recommend without hesitation that it be placed on the reference shelves of every university, college, school and public library."
– Anthony Toole, Waterstones
"Everyone should browse this book and, with deeper understanding, rejoice in the green and pleasant land in which we live – and consider how it might be maintained and improved for future generations."
– Rob Robinson, BTO
"It's a very informative piece of work and every birder should take a look either to refresh their fieldcraft or maybe to start them on the path of seeing the environment as a whole not just our normal narrow avian focus."
"This is a stunning book in every way that a bibliophile or collector can imagine, and it's an inspirational book in every sense that a citizen scientist or a professional ecologist can wish for."
– GrrlScientist, Guardian
"This book is highly recommended to anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of our plants and their habitats."
– Ro Scott, Highland Naturalist
"This is a highly impressive book [...] As far as this reviewer is aware, there is no other printed work with this level of visual material describing and classifying the natural habitats of the British Isles."
– Tony Chalcraft, Reference Reviews
"I like it [...] I like it a lot. This is a beautifully produced hardback volume that covers all of the main habitat types found across the islands of Britain and Ireland. Illustrated throughout with more than 680 colour photographs it is a visual feast [...] a good balance of information that's particularly well suited to the wildlife enthusiast, birder or anyone who loves the great outdoors and would like a better understanding of how it all fits together."
– Calvin Jones, Ireland's Wildlife
"[A] beautifully produced book [...] Anyone with an interest in the outdoors will find this book indispensable. I will certainly be dipping into it frequently."
– Tony Toole, Sherkin Comment