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Andrew Goudie's opening chapter places the present environmental crisis in a chronological perspective, exploring the changing impact of human populations on the environment since prehistoric times, with particular reference to forest cover, soil erosion and animal extinctions. The contributors then examine the future of the forests, the impact of man on animal species, and his co-existence with them, and the likely effects of man's activities on the atmosphere and global climatic patterns. Finally a NASA scientist puts these and other environmental problems into a new perspective, as the environment is examined from space.
1. The changing human impact Andrew Goudie
2. The future of forests Norman Myers
3. Attitudes to animals Marian Stamp Dawkins
4. How many species? Robert May
5. Famine Roger Whitehead
6. Exhaustible resources Partha Dasgupta
7. Changing climates Bert Bolin
8. Observing earth's environment from space Gordon Wells
"I doubt if there are many better short guides to the debate. Written by scientists for laymen, the book gives you not only the technical essentials but the perspective of people who really understand the problems and whose advice will influence the answers."
– The Financial Times