361 pages, 18 plates with colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps; b/w illustrations, b/w maps, tables
In 1972, The Limits to Growth introduced the idea that world resources are limited. Soon after, people became aware of the threats to the world's rainforests, the biggest terrestrial repositories of biodiversity and essential regulators of global air and water cycles. Since that time, new research and technological advances have greatly increased our knowledge of how rainforests are being affected by changing patterns of resource use. Increasing concern about climate change has made it more important than ever to understand the state of the world's tropical forests.
On the Edge provides an up-to-date picture of the health of the world's tropical forests. Claude Martin, an eminent scientist and conservationist, integrates information from remote imaging, ecology, and economics to explain deforestation and forest health throughout the world. He explains how urbanization, an increasingly global economy, and a worldwide demand for biofuels put new pressure on rainforest land. He examines the policies and market forces that have successfully preserved forests in some areas and discusses the economic benefits of protected areas. Using evidence from ice core records and past forest cover patterns, he predicts the most likely effects of climate change. Claude Martin brings his wealth of experience as an ecologist, director of the WWF, and advistor to various conservation organizations to bear on the latest research from around the world. Contributions from eight leading experts provide additional insight.
"The definitive assessment of the single most important factor in the future of Earth's biodiversity."
– Edward O. Wilson, university research professor emeritus, Harvard University
"In this new book the distinguished biologist Claude Martin summarizes the bad news and the good news about rainforest conservation, the leading threats to the world's rainforests, and the ways in which we can best deal with those threats."
– Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-prize-winning author of best-selling books Guns, Germs, and Steel and The World until Yesterday
"Of all invasive species, none has been more destructive than us [...] Martin provides us with a description of the catastrophic effects of human activity and a description of some of the possible avenues away from this destructive path."
– David Suzuki, internationally renowned environmentalist
"Claude Martin has a long experience in tropical forest conservation, both as a scientist and as former director general of WWF International, and in this book he presents a vitally important agenda for the 21st century to save the biodiversity and indigenous communities of the world's precious tropical rainforests. I urge you to read it."
– Yolanda Kakabadse, President, WWF International
"To save civilization, there is nothing more urgent today than to regenerate and conserve our highly threatened forests – most importantly our tropical forests. This book comes just in time [...] [and shows] how systems-based solutions could yet bring humanity back from the brink of self-destruction."
– Ashok Khosla, former president, IUCN and copresident, Club of Rome
"On the Edge is more than just a very comprehensive consolidation of information about the tropical rainforests: it also builds a very compelling argument about what drives deforestation and reports an array of success stories of how to conserve, regenerate, and sustainably manage this Earth's treasure."
– Tasso Azevedo, former chief of the Brazilian Forest Service and cochair of Megaflorestais
"Claude Martin's deeply impressive account of the state and fate of the rainforests is the place to turn while there is still a bit of time left"
– James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World
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Claude Martin has been engaged in tropical rainforest conservation since the 1970s and served as director general of WWF International from 1993--2005 where he pioneered rainforest conservation partnerships in all tropical rainforest regions.
Thomas E. Lovejoy is the former director of the U.S. conservation program of the WWF, chief biodiversity adviser to the World Bank and assistant secretary for Environment and External Affairs, Smithsonian Institution. Lovejoy is a professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University.