Located in the Arabian Sea, east of the Horn of Africa, the Socotra Islands of Yemen are often referred to as the `Galapagos of the Indian Ocean', known for their many endemic species. In 2003, the islands became a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, acknowledging the intimate relationship between the islanders and their environment. Its nomination as a natural World Heritage Site is underway.
Socotra: A Natural History of the Islands and their People provides a comprehensive review of the islands' flora, fauna and people. While documenting the geological history, land and marine biodiversity, ecology, human culture and history, the book also highlights hitherto unexplored aspects of the islands' biogeography, ecology and evolution. It also includes nine case studies illustrating local approaches to achieving conservation and sustainable development.
Thoroughly researched and referenced, with contributions from over 100 international and national specialists, Socotra: A Natural History of the Islands and their People is packed with the latest scientific, historic and cultural information. Each chapter has been reviewed by specialists renowned in their particular fields.
Through this book, the authors hope to arouse interest and engender actions to sustain Socotra's unique natural and cultural history into the future.
Authors Catherine Cheung and Lyndon DeVantier lived on Socotra for three years during the late 1990s. The two marine ecologists share a broad interest in natural and cultural history, and in communicating science and conservation to the public. Science editor Kay Van Damme, hydrobiologist at Ghent University in Belgium, has extensively explored the freshwater and cave ecosystems of Socotra, and is passionate about all aspects of the islands' present and past.
"When an advance copy [...] arrived at my door, I was quite frankly gobsmacked. I had not known what to expect, but I had not expected such a magnificently presented, fabulously illustrated and so wide- covering and exhaustively researched a tome as this. It is without doubt the definitive study of the unique natural history of this extraordinary island and its no less unique people in a moment of change – whether at ground level, above ground, below ground, or in the depths of the surrounding sea, past, present and future. And the range of its illustrations – from close-ups of widow spiders and paper moths to wide-angle panoramas of the ancient landscape and its oceanic setting, and Socotrans past and present – is unsurpassed. But this is not just the definitive study, and a synthesis and treasure trove of the combined knowledge of divers researchers in the last decade, it is also unsurpassed as a celebration of these precious things, and a rallying bugle-call for their understanding and conservation. [...] If you value Socotra you will treasure this book – buy it now while stocks last!"
– Douglas Botting, author of Island of the Dragon's Blood
"[...] the first full natural history of the flora, fauna and people of these islands."
– Nature (Vol. 445, 4 Jan 07)
" [...] it's a splendid achievement – rich, fascinating, scholarly, wonderfully comprehensive and beautifully produced"
– Tim Mackintosh-Smith
"It is a very successful book in that it combines both the coffee-table approach with enough good scientific information to give it substance, interest, and appeal."
– Charles Sheppard, J Nat Hist, 41 (2007), 481