Book reviews / Biological Conservation 114 (2003) 305–308

307

class for conserving biodiversity—their taxonomy is well agreed; they are widespread across many habitats; they are accessible to researchers; they comprise a manageable number of species (around 10,000), and our knowledge of them is more detailed compared with other groups. As one contributor to the book expounded (perhaps subjectively), the latter point might explain why people care the most about birds! Accompanying our thorough knowledge of avifauna is a stark awareness of conservation concerns. BirdLife International (2000) describes 1186 (about 12%) of present day species as threatened internationally with almost 75% of these inhabiting less than 5% of the planet’s land surface area. These statistics engender serious concern, but a more sobering thought is that birds are among the least threatened of all animal groups. Nineteen authors contribute to 12 thought-provoking chapters. Subject coverage is wide but highly relevant to 21st century ornithology. Subjects include demography, conservation policy, education and training, landscape ecology, threats to avian biodiversity, diagnosis of population decline and management of critically endangered bird populations. Each chapter is self-contained and highly informative with numerous scientific references. The editors should be congratulated on the rarity of typographical errors and the consistency of structure across chapters. Each chapter terminates with a succinct conclusion and no chapter is overburdened with excessive detail. Instead, case studies and similar exemplary material are presented in text boxes partitioned from the main text and footnotes are employed thoughtfully to reduce further the cluttering of corporeal text. In some chapters a useful inclusion is footnotes detailing website URLs for conservation agencies, policies and conventions. Several chapters incorporate large tables of illustrative data as appendices. Of all of the chapters, the most notable is entitled ‘The interface between research, education and training’ by Leon Bennun. Earlier in the book, in Chapter 6 entitled ‘Critically endangered bird populations and their management’, Ben Bell and Don Merton illustrate the urgency
doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00364-6

of conservation action with the following quote by ´: Michael Soule The luxuries of confidence limits and certainty are ones that conservation biologists cannot now afford. Constructive criticism is welcome, but to embrace the purist’s motto of ‘insufficient data’ is to abandon the bleeding patient on the operating table. ´ ’s sentiments are perhaps not wholly applicSoule able to the African situation. His words are tempered by those of Bennun who draws on his firsthand experience from developing the infrastructure for bird conservation in Kenya through the National Museums of Kenya. Although his observations and recommendations are applicable across many diverse disciplines, he specifically emphasises the worth of running ‘on the ground’ research programmes with the involvement of local ornithologists throughout the research process. As a developing country, Kenya offers relatively little financial support for avian conservation; the onus lies with ornithologists in the developed world to introduce and sustain financial and logistical underpinnings into avian conservation exercises in Kenya and other such countries where opportunities are boundless. I unreservedly recommend this book to university students, researchers in conservation biology, conservation practitioners and amateur ornithologists. It offers something for everyone.

References
BirdLife International, 2000. Threatened Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge, UK.

Jim Reynolds Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3PS, UK E-mail address: jreynlds@memphis.edu

Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems Edited by Lance H. Gunderson and C.S. Holling. Island Press, 2002. xxiv+507 pages. ISBN 1-55963-857-5 (paper), $35. The title of this book, Panarchy, is derived not from the Greek word pan (meaning all) and anarchy, but draws ‘‘upon the Greek god Pan to capture an image of unpredictable change’’ (p. 5); it ‘‘was coined as an antithesis to hierarchy’’ (p. 21). The book aims to

‘‘develop an integrative theory to help us understand the changes occurring globally’’ (p.5). This Theory of Panarchy ‘‘must be capable of organizing our understanding of economic, ecological, and institutional systems. . . [it is] cross-scale, interdisciplinary, and dynamic. . . Its essential focus is to rationalize the interplay between change and persistence, between the predictable and the unpredictable’’ (p. 5)—particularly at the regional scale. These are substantial requirements that are examined in a rather substantial book, through 16 theoretical and practice-based chapters written by a

Cambridge. the latest version of the helix model well-known to readers of Hollings’ and others’ work. and rangeland ecosystems and the ways in which people interact with them.1016/S0006-3207(03)00041-7 adaptive management. R. Perth College UHI Millennium Institute. others come from a wide range of backgrounds in the social and management sciences. but some are useful’ (p. study. 1986. This leads to the principle of doi:10. there are also four appendices. 1986). It will make any reader think and. Introduction. is a key element of Panarchy. with a particular emphasis on aquatic. hopefully.E. A number of key words may help to understand the scope of the book. While many are ecologists. Summary and synthesis. particularly since his chapter in the similarly seminal and interdisciplinary book ‘Sustainable development of the biosphere’ (Clark and Munn. Theories of change. ‘The process of making the model is more important than the model itself’ (p. models. UK E-mail address: martin. 409). In a short review.C. Cambridge University Press. The book consists of five parts: I. reflecting the origins of the theory in C. though there are some repetitions from chapter to chapter that might have been edited out. As is stated in the first of these. III. particularly their economic sides.price@perth. This is a book that should be read—or at least dipped into—by anyone concerned with the sustainable management of ecosystems—whether for conservation or other goals— through teaching. Over three decades Hollings’ models have proved to be more useful than many.S.ac. For those who are mathematically inclined. Myths. forest. 414) and ‘All models are wrong. 395).uhi. (‘Buzz’) Hollings’ work on resilience since the 1970s. An ‘adaptive renewal cycle’. An important difference between this book and many others that purport to be interdisciplinary is that it concludes with two excellent ‘summary and synthesis’ chapters. from a 3-year project sponsored by the Beijer Institute. Sustainable Development and the Biosphere..uk . and V. Linking theory to practice. which is explored both theoretically and in a wide range of practical situations. W. First.308 Book reviews / Biological Conservation 114 (2003) 305–308 remarkable mix of authors. why are we still here? Why have we fallen into a trap where expertise is thought to be the only way to manage uncertainties inherent in these complex systems?’’ (p. and metaphors. References Clark.). (Eds. Crieff Road Perth PH1 2NX. The emphasis on instabilities and uncertainties links to a second key word: adaptation. The structure of the book works well. most recently. and there are 40 pages of references. paradoxes: ‘‘If collapse and instabilities characterize systems of peopleand nature. IV. reconsider how he or she understands the diverse systems within which ‘nature’ and people interact at many different scales. it is not possible to do justice to the breadth and depth of research and reflection deriving. or active practice. Price Centre for Mountain Studies. II. Munn. Martin F.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful