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Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland [Hardcover]

Norman Maclean
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 33.99
Price: 30.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 May 2010
Over the past 20 years dramatic declines have taken place in UK insect populations. Eventually, such declines must have knock-on effects for other animals, especially high profile groups such as birds and mammals. This authoritative, yet accessible account details the current state of the wildlife in Britain and Ireland and offers an insight into the outlook for the future. Written by a team of the country's leading experts, it appraises the changes that have occurred in a wide range of wildlife species and their habitats and outlines urgent priorities for conservation. It includes chapters on each of the vertebrate and major invertebrate groups, with the insects covered in particular depth. Also considered are the factors that drive environmental change and the contribution at local and government level to national and international wildlife conservation. Essential reading for anyone who is interested in, and concerned about, UK wildlife.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521519667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521519663
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'If we are concerned about the environmental future of Britain and Ireland, then we must know as much as possible about its present condition … That is why this book is so important. It gives us a benchmark … It is invaluable now - and in years to come it will be irreplaceable.' Sir David Attenborough, from the Foreword

'The book is absolutely terrific. An all-star cast of conservation scientists and practitioners document powerful stories of loss - and of hope for the future - among Britain and Ireland's many non-human inhabitants. Gripping and rigorous - a core foundation for students of Conservation Ecology and Environmental Science.' Gretchen Daily, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University

'The season has changed but the silence is deeper and that's why this important book must be read. It's not a catalogue of doom - it's a pragmatic snapshot of reality and a desperate plea for action. Your action.' Chris Packham, Naturalist, Wildlife Photographer and TV Presenter

'… thoughtful and comprehensive … timely …' Guardian

'Every now and again a really good entomology book appears … informative, insightful and a true delight to read … Silent Summer [falls] into this rare category … This book is a rich source of information about the state of our fauna and flora and a copy should find its way onto the bookshelf of every entomologist in the UK … The editor, Norman Maclean, is to be congratulated for publishing an excellent book.' Antenna

'If I had to sum up the state of Britain's wildlife in one word, I'd say 'terrible', but this book is generally rather more positive!' The International Journal of Avian Science

' … should … contribute to our attempt to rescue and preserve the remaining biodiversity of the British Isles.' Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

' … a timely review of the state of our wildlife today … having all the information on so many groups in one place means that we can reach a much more balanced assessment of the overall state of our country's wildlife and this is the great benefit of the book. … a rich source of information about the state of our fauna and flora and a copy should find its way onto the bookshelf of every entomologist in the UK. … The editor, Norman Maclean, is to be congratulated for publishing an excellent book.' British Journal of Entemology and Natural History

Book Description

This authoritative, yet accessible account details the current state of the wildlife in Britain and Ireland. It appraises the changes that have occurred in a wide range of wildlife species and their habitats, with chapters on each of the vertebrate and major invertebrate groups, and outlines urgent priorities for conservation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A readable account of a complex picture 2 Sep 2010
By Clover
Format:Hardcover
This tome seems something of an outlay but it's a timely and enjoyable summary of the state of British wildlfe, by a range of experts: gain an overall view through the early chapters on the influence of various factors and then either read through methodically, about everything from dragonflies to woodlands, in a series of specialist chapters, or dart through picking those things which are of particular interest.

It is in fact very readable and, with multiple authors with slightly different emphases, if one stays the course one ends up with some kind of synthesis. It leaves the reader with a better grasp of the interplay of a whole range of factors, from habitat fragmentation to the pervasive influence of nutrient enrichment almost everywhere. Climate change is dealt with cautiously, clearly not the major factor yet in many declines. Increases and causes for optimism are also abundant and the title may have been chosen to suggest a successor to Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' when in fact ecological apocolypse is not what is described here.

The authors - no doubt necessarily obsessive human specialists (and nearly all men) - are good at outlining how within their field the specialist species fare much worse than the generalists: one is left in wonder at how many caterpillars with their precise ecological needs ever survive. The chapter on butterflies by J A Thomas is masterly.

There are positive things said about countryside sports and their effect on wildlife, which may evoke controversy; negative things about agricultural intensification (but what is to be done about that, realistically?) and questions asked about whether nature reserves per se do enough: grazing regimes have to spot on; the precise needs of species need to be met.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not a cover-to-cover "reader", but dipping one learns a lot, over and over. I had not recognised that insects are such a good indicator of habitat health, nor that so many have declined to such an extent. Fly fishermen tell of the change in salmon and trout habits - the fish are no longer so picky about the "correct" fishing fly because there are no more hatchings of massive swarms of blackfly (or whatever fly used to be in season). Fascinating book, far more academic than Silent Spring, but evidenced and referenced declines in almost all quarters, across almost all animal species. Much food for thought.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wake up call for future generations 17 Sep 2010
By PC49 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This publication is a must read for all individuals that have first hand knowledge of the decline in wildlife within Britain and Ireland. The current generation must heed the warning signs that are so apparent throughout Britain. The ever increasing human population is taking a huge toll on our resident wildlife. Steps must be taken to address the variety of problems that are currently impacting upon wildlife. If this is not addressed our grandchildren will hold us responsible for the disappearance of a wide range of mammals, insects and birds.

Great Britain is, but a series of islands with finite resources. As a result the water resources and the land mass can only sustain a limited number of people.

If people wish to pass onto their grandchildren a countryside that is inhabited with a variety of wildlife they must read this excellent publication. Remember, delay in action can bring results beyond your imagination.
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