Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis

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Princeton University Press, 2000 - Nature - 224 pages
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In Life in the Balance, Niles Eldredge argues that the Earth is confronting a disaster in the making--an ecological crisis that, if left unresolved, could ultimately lead to mass extinction on the scale of that which killed the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago. Writing for general readers, he reviews compelling evidence for this "biodiversity crisis," showing that species are dying out at an unnaturally rapid rate. He demonstrates the importance of maintaining biodiversity, taking the reader on a journey that reveals the twin faces of biodiversity--over thirteen million living species and the ecosystems through which these species transform the sun's energy into life-sustaining matter. Throughout, Eldredge shows how our own fate is intricately linked with that of other species.


Eldredge, one of the world's foremost paleontologists, begins by taking us to the heart of Botswana's Okavango Delta, considered by many to be among the last "Edens" left on Earth--a place where a rich assortment of organisms exist in natural equilibrium. However, it is also a place where the results of human activity--pollution, clear-cutting, water-diversion, encroaching agriculture, disease--now pose the same ecological threats that, on a worldwide scale, put the entire planet at risk. Eldredge then leads us on a fascinating exploration of the Earth's organisms--animals, plants, fungi, the microbes that underpin all life--and of the diverse ecosystems from the tundra to the tropics in which these organisms live. It is a journey that demonstrates the inherent value of the millions of species and ecosystems on Earth, and the importance of biodiversity to the entire biosphere and to humans' continued existence.


Eldredge concludes that humans not only are responsible for the biodiversity crisis but also hold the key to preventing an impending Sixth Extinction. He argues that we must, among other strategies, pledge ourselves to sustainable development and the conservation of wild places. An eloquent and passionate account by one of today's leading scientists, Life in the Balance will draw new attention to one of the most pressing problems now facing the world. In this book, Eldredge explores the same themes that illuminate The American Museum of Natural History's new Hall of Biodiversity, for which he is Scientific Curator. The Hall is scheduled to open in spring 1998.


  

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Life in the balance: humanity and the biodiversity crisis

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Eldredge begins in Botswana's Okavango Delta, which, in his opinion, is the closest remaining place on Earth to a true Eden. But even there he finds evidence of impending ecological catastrophe--the ... Read full review

Review: Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis

User Review  - Alice - Goodreads

A good primer for a layman about biodiversity, habitat destruction and extinction, and what to do about it. Keep in mind that the book was first published ten years ago. I'm sure if Eldredge wrote the ... Read full review

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Contents

TALES FROM THE SWAMP
xiii
THE OKAVANGO AS PRIMORDIAL EDEN
20
BIODIVERSITY EVOLUTION AND ECOLOGY
45
THE TREE OF LIFE
63
ECOSYSTEMPANORAMA
109
BIODIVERSITYA THREATENED NATURAL TREASURE
139
STRIKING A BALANCE
173
Appendix i ANIMAL SPECIES EXTINCT SINCE CIRCA 1600
191
Appendix ii ESSENTIAL MICROBES FUNGI ANIMALS AND PLANTS
204
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SUGGESTED READINGS
212
INDEX
215
Copyright

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JSTOR: Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis.
Biodiversity Life in the balance: humanity and the biodiversity crisis. By Niles Eldredge. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1998. 224 pp. Index. ...
links.jstor.org/ sici?sici=0020-5850(200004)76%3A2%3C377%3ALITBHA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-R

Sample Chapter for Eldredge, N.: Life in the Balance: Humanity and ...
Sample Chapter for Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis by Eldredge, N., published by Princeton University Press.
press.princeton.edu/ chapters/ s6276.html

Northeastern Naturalist: Life in the Balance: Humanity and the ...
Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis. Niles Eldredge. 1998. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 224 pp. ...
findarticles.com/ p/ articles/ mi_qa3845/ is_200001/ ai_n8897623/ print

Life in the balance: humanity and the biodiversity crisis.
Title: Life in the balance: humanity and the biodiversity crisis. POPLINE Document Number: 148212. Author(s):. Eldredge N. Source citation: ...
www.popline.org/ docs/ 1327/ 148212.html

Life in the Balance
By NILES ELDREDGE Princeton University Press. Read the Review. TALES FROM THE SWAMP PART I: THE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS IN MICROCOSM ...
www.nytimes.com/ books/ first/ e/ eldredge-life.html

Biodiversity
In "Why Biodiversity Matters," an excerpt taken from his book "Life in the Balance, Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis," Niles Eldredge, curator at the ...
usinfo.state.gov/ products/ pubs/ biodiv/

Life in the Balance
Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis BY NILES ELDREDGE ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICIA WYNNE A Peter N. Nevraumont Book/Princeton University ...
www.dhushara.com/ book/ diversit/ extra/ aug98.htm

The Sixth Extinction (actionbioscience)
Life in the Balance. Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis. Princeton University Press, Princeton. Wilson, eo 1993. The Diversity of Life. ...
www.actionbioscience.org/ newfrontiers/ eldredge2.html

Academic writing: Researching the essay
Life in the Balance: Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis. Princeton University Press, 1998. Recounts the interdependence of all living organisms and the ...
www.uefap.com/ writing/ research/ encyc_eg.htm

The Triumph of Evolution, and the Failure of Creationism
Eldredge, Niles, "LIFE IN THE BALANCE - Humanity and the Biodiversity Crisis", (Princeton University Press, Princeton New Jersey, USA, 1998). ...
www.cbs.dtu.dk/ staff/ dave/ html/ TriumphEvolut.html

About the author (2000)

Niles Eldredge

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