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Recommended books on environmental and societal issues
Robert Bailey (2010) Ecosystem Geography. From Ecoregions to Sites. Brief comments - This is a very good introductory textbook on nature’s variation from larger-scale ecoregional to smaller-scale site-level features. As a researcher mainly trained as an ecologist and now moved to biogeography, I very much enjoyed reading this book. I also noticed that the interactions between different scales, as well as the movements of material and organisms between different ecosystem types, e.g. streams and riparia, were emphasized. This led me to think whether the idea of interacting ecosystems, or the so-called “meta-systems”, has actually originated in geography or ecology. This is just a side note here and would perhaps be a matter of digging deeper into the history of natural sciences.
Jared Diamond (2019) Upheaval. Turning Points for Nations in Crisis. Brief comments - A very insightful account of critical periods nations may face. I read this book some time ago, but it seems that the topic is very timely just right now. As a Finn, I was also highly interested in the author's viewpoint on Finland during the Second World War.
Walter Dodds (2019) The World's Worst Problems. Brief comments - A highly interesting book on multiple problems we are facing nowadays. And, yes, it is not only about climate change, but an array of things that are jointly impacting the Earth. What would you rank as the world's worst problem?
Daniel Estulin (2015) Tavistock Institute. Social Engineering the Masses. Brief comments - This institute has devoted much effort in understanding human psyche and advancing mass psychology. What for has this effort been done?
Yrjö Haila and Richard Levins (1992) Humanity and Nature. Ecology, Science and Society. Brief comments – Despite written a relatively long time ago, this book is still a highly valuable contribution to understand the connections between humans and nature. While I was reading this book, I started to ponder why the problems presented in this book sounded so familiar compared to those we see today. It seems that not much has really changed in the last 30 years when it comes to solving pressing environmental problems. Why is that so?
Richard Ladle and Robert Whittaker (2011) Conservation Biogeography. Brief comments - A good multi-author textbook, with a large-scale perspective on biological, geographical and societal basis of nature conservation.
David Lindenmayer and Gene Likens (2010) Effective Ecological Monitoring. Brief comments - A very good critical overview of ecological monitoring, its pros and cons, and how monitoring should be ideally done in practice.
David Wilkinson (2006) Fundamental Processes in Ecology: An Earth System Approach. Brief comments - An interesting account of ecological systems, with an emphasis on the role of microorganisms in ecosystem functioning. What if these small players are no longer able to participate in their specific functions?
Edward Wilson (1998) Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Brief comments – This interesting account links issues as different as the basis of human brain functioning, societal issues, religious versus secular views, and environmental problems under the same general umbrella of reasoning. A thought-provoking book that should be of interest to people trying to provide solutions to maintaining biological diversity, a diverse topic that requires a diversity of things to be considered.
Ellen Wohl (2018) Sustaining River Ecosystems and Water Resources. Brief comments - A very good introduction to a holistic understanding of rivers and their management. A must read for all interested in saving and maintaining functioning river systems.