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Serengeti is arguably the most well-known and highly treasured conservation area in the world. In 1972 the United Nations meeting on National Parks and Protected Areas agreed to set up World Heritage Sites, now supervised by UNESCO, and at that meeting they voted Serengeti top of the list. What makes this site outstanding? What happens in Serengeti biologically? How did it become a protected area? What are the historical events that have shaped its present dynamics? What will happen to it in future? How has it become relevant to human society and conservation? These are the questions that Anthony Sinclair answers in Serengeti Story.
First arriving in Serengeti in 1961, he has worked as a scientist in this ecosystem since 1965, and continues to do so today. In the process he has documented not only the ecological events as the system has changed but also the political, economic, and social events that have driven these changes. Including personal accounts of the dramatic events brought about by the vicissitudes of political turmoil, he tells the story of Serengeti and its surrounding research. Providing the historical background – both the paleohistory going back 4 million years and the modern history of the region – he examines the future of conservation, considering the ominous threats facing the Serengeti today.
1: Serengeti: a wonder of the natural world
2: The great migration
3: African buffalo
4: The great pandemic
5: The African Queen
6: Serengeti beginnings
7: The migration of birds
9: War--sort of!
11: Border closure
12: One million wildebeest
13: Outbreak of trees
15: Coup d'etat
16: Ivory poaching
18: Of princes and polo
19: Hando fights back
22: The Future of Conservation
Appendix: The main species in Serengeti
Professor Sinclair began his research in 1965 in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania on the population regulation of African buffalo. He subsequently studied the regulation of the wildebeest and other ungulate populations, looking at the effects of food supply and predation. He has examined the causes of migration and its consequences on ecosystem processes, and these have been compared to other systems in Sudan and Australia. He has documented multiple states in Serengeti savannah and grassland communities; expanding these interests to include bird, insect, and reptile faunas as part of the long-term dynamics of ecosystems. Until recently he was Director of the Centre for Biodiversity Research, University of British Columbia. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada. He has published over 150 refereed scientific papers and seven books, the most recently with OUP.