Printer Friendly

Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia.

Publication of "Models of Nature" by Douglas R. Weiner, subtitled "Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia," has been announced by the Indiana University Press, Tenth and Morton Streets, Bloomington, IN 47405. Weiner is Assistant Professor of History at Tufts University where he specializes in the history of Russian and Soviet science.

This volume provides a good insight into little-known aspects of early Russian conservation efforts. It also sheds light on the evolution of ecological thought and work there, the nation's environmental problems, and what the author calls "the severely utilitarian view of nature held by the Stalinists. . ." Weiner discusses the beginnings of conservation in tsarist Russia and their evolution through the Communist revolution. Closely examined are the ecological and conservation efforts during the 1920's and 1930's and difficulties under the "Five-Year Plans," wherein various resource production goals were often set without regard for environmental reality.

The Soviets, the author points out, were among the first to set aside protected areas (zaprovedniki) for scientific studies. But, as conservationists came under increasing criticism, the nature reserves were turned to production (even for exotic species like sika deer and raccoon dog) and predators were exterminated; many of the reserves were used for mining, lumbering, grazing, etc. Also detailed are struggles between those trying to protect the environment and others promoting huge hydroelectric projects, collectivization, etc. He tells further how Soviet conservation and ecology suffered under the attacks by I.I. Prezent, T. D. Lysenko, and others. Scientific beliefs or doctrines that did not support state social or economic policies were often deemed "counter-revolutionary."

The author also dispells a variety of myths regarding the role or fate of conservation under a strict, centrally planned economy. His concluding chapter, "Conservation without Ecology," specifically discusses the effects of Prezent and others who railed against those who would place "a theoretical land mine under our [socialist] construction." Besides a good review of the history of conservation under the Soviet socialist system into the 1950's, the book is also a reminder of the futility of trying to extract renewable resources faster than the environment can produce them. Definitions, acronyms, and abbreviations are given for Russian terms, an appendix lists nature reserves during 1925-33, and lengthy chapter notes are provided. Indexed, the 312-page hardbound volume costs $35.00.
COPYRIGHT 1988 U.S. Department of Commerce
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
Previous Article:Nature in Its Greatest Extent: Western Science in the Pacific.
Next Article:Breaking New Waters, a Century of Limnology at the University of Wisconsin.

Related Articles
Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918-1921.
The Engineering of Revolution: L.B. Krasin and the Bolsheviks, 1870-1926.
Between the Revolution and the West: A Political Biography of Maxim M. Litvinov.
Peasant Metropolis: Social Identities in Moscow, 1929-1941.
Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison.
The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, Volume 3: The Coming of the Cataclysm 1961-1966.
Russia Under Western Eyes--From the Bronze Horseman to the Lenin Mausoleum.
Power and the Sacred in Revolutionary Russia: Religious Activists in the Village.
Up from Bondage: The literatures of Russian and African American Soul.
The Russian Reading Revolution: Print Culture in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Eras. (Reviews: modern Europe).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters