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Landscape Linkages and Biodiversity.

A lot of the angry debate and near strokes engendered by debate over spotted owls, snail darters, and red-cockaded woodpeckers were futile if the simple premise of this book is correct. It points to a profound conclusion for resource planners, especially foresters. The premise is that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 is not really saving endangered species. Saving a fir stand that has spotted owls or a longleaf pine stand with a red-cockaded woodpecker probably won't save the species. Much more land is needed!

Carefully explaining and applying the ecological theory of island biogeography, the authors demonstrate that saving fragments of a natural system might save the birds, mammals, or reptiles now living there but probably does little to save the species. Islands are islands whether separated by water, super highways, or clearcuts. Species diversity declines on islands. Predators invade and prey have fewer places to hide. Populations have difficulty reviving after natural disasters. They begin interbreeding like fabled backwoods hillbillies.

This brief summary cannot do justice to the evidence, theory, and practice described by the writers in this book. Their conclusion, however, will play a large role in future debates over endangered species. One writer suggests the Endangered Species Act needs to be replaced by an "endangered ecosystems act." The general message is that "if you don't save the processes, you won't save the parts. So if you're going to create a preserve, you had better make it a big one."
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Kaufman, Wallace
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Previous Article:The 1992 Information Please Environmental Almanac.
Next Article:Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The Broken Circle.

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