How the Earthquake Bird Got Its Name and Other Tales of an Unbalanced Nature

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Yale University Press, Feb 27, 2007 - Science - 227 pages

In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould, H. H. Shugart entertains and enlightens with parables from the amazing world of birds and mammals

Although people have been altering earth's landscapes to some extent for tens of thousands of years, humankind today is causing massive changes to the planet. Such widespread environmental change is accompanied by accelerating rates of species extinction. In this book, noted ecologist H. H. Shugart presents important ecological concepts through entertaining animal parables. He tells the stories of particular birds and mammals--the packrat, ivory-billed woodpecker, penguin, dingo, European rabbit, and others--and what their fates reveal about the interactions between environmental change and the extinctions or explosions of species populations. Change is the root of many planetary problems, but it is also an intrinsic feature of our living planet. Shugart explores past environmental change, discusses the non-existence of a "balance of Nature," and documents how human alterations have affected plants, soils, and animals. He looks with hope toward a future in which thoughtful people learn--and use--ecological science to protect the landscapes upon which terrestrial creatures depend.

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 The Big Woodpecker That Was Too Picky
5
3 The BlackHeaded Bird Named Whitehead
24
4 The Rat That Hid Time in Its Nest
45
5 The Earthquake Bird and the Possum
69
6 The Most Common Bird on Earth
89
7 The Engineering Rodent
106
8 The Fall of the Big Bird
116
9 The Wolf That Was Womans Best Friend
138
10 The Gentle Invader
159
11 Planetary Stewardship
178
Notes
185
Index
219
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

H. H. Shugart is W. W. Corcoran Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. He is the author or editor of more than 300 publications.

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