Wildlife and the countryside are highly valued by people in the UK, and for good reason. Healthy habitats are invaluable assets and promote human wellbeing. However, they are under increasing threat from, among other things, relentless urban expansion and intensive modern agriculture. These pressures largely stem from a major underlying cause – the high and growing population of humans living in the UK. Impacts of Human Population on Wildlife provides an overview of wildlife in the UK and its recent status; factors contributing to wildlife declines; trends in human numbers; international deliberations about the impacts of human population growth; and the implications for the future of wildlife conservation in the UK. The evidence-based text includes comparisons of wildlife declines and their causes in other countries, providing a global perspective. This book is for ecologists, naturalists and conservation biologists studying and working in academia or in consultancies, as well as all those interested in wildlife conservation.
List of Abbreviations
1. Population matters
2. The state of British wildlife
3. Human Activities directly killing wildlife
4. Impacts of development on wildlife declines
5. Impacts of farming and forestry on wildlife declines
6. Climate change, disease and disturbance
7. The human population and wildlife in Britain and western Europe
8. Public perceptions of wildlife and population issues
9. International aspects of population growth
10. Conservation in a crowded country
Trevor J.C. Beebee is an Emeritus Professor of evolution, behaviour and environment at the University of Sussex, UK, where he taught from 1976 to 2012. He has published over 200 papers, articles and books, including Climate Change and British Wildlife (Bloomsbury, 2018) which received the Marsh Award from the British Ecological Society for the most influential ecology book of 2019. He is also a trustee of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, and a Fellow of the British Herpetological Society and the British Naturalists Association.
"We all know that population matters. But we also realise that it is the elephant in the room, the vast presence which must never be mentioned. So we behave as if it is not there. [...] Human population, argues Beebee, is the driver for pretty well all the things that degrade the countryside and destroy wildlife. Whatever we do, from building new estates, roads and railways to poisoning the fields and overfishing the sea, the demands of a growing population lie at its root. Sure, habitat destruction is to blame for the loss of species worldwide, but that destruction is impelled by our exploding numbers [...] This is a well-written account by a very well-informed British naturalist of the way population affects wildlife. It is written without recourse to technical jargon, but also with a careful, precise and temperate use of language, and with the balanced judgements which you would expect in a small-circulation scientific series published by Cambridge University Press. As one who has also written on the subject of wildlife loss and its causes, I sometimes feel as though we are keepers of a great secret, seeing what is really there, instead of the pretended ‘visions’. But to unveil the elephant in the room entails treading on eggshells, hoping the facts speak for themselves. All the same, in Beebee’s well-sourced, calmly argued book, they are all here if you want them."
– Peter Marren, British Wildlife 34(2), November 2022