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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? You will be surprised to find out what it has been all about.
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?
Michael Huston (1994) Biological Diversity. The Coexistence of Species on Changing Landscapes. Brief comments - In my opinion, this book is still key textbook on variation of biological diversity across landscapes and at different spatial scales. I read this book as a young masters student sometime in the late 1990s, and it was one of those books that guided my research thereafter. Many, if not most, concepts and ideas in this book have remained valid until now, although almost 30 years have passed since its publication. Having been practising ecological and biogeographical research myself in the last 25 years, it appears that the progress in this research field has been mostly in developing new indices and analytical methods rather than making major conceptual breakthroughs. Feel free to assess my opinion by reading this book and to send me email if you end up with the same coclusion that fundamental ecology has pretty much been 're-inventing the wheel' type research in the last 25 years. This is not to say that ecology as discipline is dead, but rather that we should use this knowledge as the basis to solve current environmental problems rather than consider it as a purely theoretical endeauvour.
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. This book is a must read for all people responsible for bioassessment and environmental monitoring in general.
Jeffrey Smith (2005) Seeds of Deception. Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Modified Food. Brief comments – This book provides an important account of the dangers of the genetically manipulated (GM) food. I purchased this book for this very reason but was finally surprised to find out what this topic comprised as a whole. The entire topic, as the book’s title suggested, was about the corruption that was associated with the marketing of the GM food as safe, although the opposite is the truth. Researchers who tried to warn about the dangers of the GM food were silenced, while some others offered blatant lies that there were no problems with the GM food. Even more alarmingly, it appeared that many government organizations and politicians were following big industry to whitewash the dangers of GM food. They were obviously bribed and compromised, as they had more or less hidden connections with big industry, or there is a more hideous hidden agenda in the background. The story is very well written, and the Finnish translation I read also succeeds nicely in bringing this important topic to the fore. What kind of ideas do you have after reading this book?
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.
Interesting websites on the environment, history, philosophy, geopolitics and beyond
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