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A decade ago, Tim Low journeyed to the remote northernmost tip of Australia. Instead of the pristine rain forests he expected, he found jungles infested with Latin American carpet grass and feral cattle. That incident helped inspire Feral Future, a passionate account of the history and implications of invasive species in that island nation, with consequences for ecological communities around the globe.
Australia is far from alone in facing horrific ecological and economic damage from invading plants and animals, and in Low's capable hands, Australia's experiences serve as a wake-up call for all of us. He covers how invasive species like cane toads and pond apple got to Australia (often through misguided but intentional introductions) and what we can do to stop them. He also covers the many pests that Australia has exported to the world, including Feral Futurebark tree (Melaleuca) that infests hundreds of thousands of acres in south Florida.
PART I: SETTING THE STAGE
1 'Cursed is the Ground' - Pests in Ancient Times
2 First In - Invasions in Old Austria
3 'A Seasonable Gift' - Explorers Seeding the Wilds
4 Ecological Insurrection - Settling in Empty Land
5 'To Our Heart's Content' - The Mad Dreams of the Acclimatizers
PART II: CARELESS AMBITIONS
6 By Design - Planned Introductions
7 Ode to the Toad - The Cane Toad Conquest
8 'Peopling a Barren River' - A Fishy Business
9 Wet Pets - Aquarium Escapes
10 When Beauty is the Beast - Garden Plants Run Amok
11 Seeking Greener Pastures - CSIRO Welcomes Weeds
PART III: INVASION BY STEALTH
12 'Every Creeping Thing' - Species on the Move
13 Soil Travellers - Worms, Seeds, Spores
14 Ballast Blues - Something in the Water
15 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? - Phytophthora's Curse
16 The Sick and Dying - Exotic Disease Strike
17 The Price of Free Trade - Opening the Door to Invasions
PART IV: AUSTRALIANS AS PESTS
18 A Source of Perverse Pride - Australianising the World
19 Colonial Revenge - British Wallabies and Budgerigars
20 Ecologically Entwined - Australians in New Zealand
21 Colouring the Landscape - Our Animals Abroad
22 Inheriting a Degraded World - Exporting Our Flora
23 It's Civil War - Natives can be Pests Too
PART V: A ROGUES' GALLERY
24 The Shuffled Pack - An Alien Who's Who
25 Seizing the Advantage - Exotic Roads to Success
26 A Bad Rap - Cats: Scoundrels or Scapegoats?
27 Where the Deer and the Antelope Roam - Hoofed Introductions
28 The Ultimate Pest - Our Destructive Ways
PART VI: WHERE ARE WE HEADED?
29 Expanding and Infilling - Pests Old and New Tighten Their Grip
30 Sleepers Wake - The Pests that Bide Their
31 Knocking at the Door - The Next Wave of Invaders
32 Whither the Wet Tropics? - A Hot Wet Case Study
33 The Homogocene - Visiting the Future
34 The New Architects - Redesigning the Land
35 Cryptogenic World - Native or Not?
36 It Happens Naturally - Invasion as Natural Process
PART VII: THINKING AND ACTING
37 Seeking Magic Bullets - Biocontrol Often Misses the Mark
38 The Quarantine Quandary - AQIS Wields a Small Swords
39 Are We Blind? - Barriers to Enlightenment
40 Wild Organisms - Understanding Plants
41 What to Do? - Embracing a New Ethos
42 Life Goes On
I Australia's Worst Environmental Weeds
II Weeds of National Significance (WONS)
III Introduced Fauna in Australia
IV Australian Animals Abroad
V Some Recent Quarantine Highlights
VI Animals and Plants - A Checklist of Scientific Names
Tim Low is a biologist, writer, and wildlife photographer. He is the author of the bestselling Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine, as well as a regular columnist for Australia's leading nature magazine, Nature Australia.
"Full of fascinating, appalling facts and stories about how drastically our environment has been changed by these invasions and by our farming and gardening practices, this is a gripping work that deserves a wide readership."
– The Age (Melbourne)
"A lucid and harrowing account of the background and implications of bioinvasion."
– Sydney Morning Herald
"This book will change your outlook on the world [...] A must for anyone who considers themselves a friend of the environment."
– Wildlife Australia
"A wake-up on the dangers of 'McDonaldising' world ecology."
– The Australian
"A mix of scientific rigour and colourful enthusiasm."
– The Courier-Mail