Islands in Space and Time

David G. Campbell, Author, David Larkin, Designed by, David Larkin, Designed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $35 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-68083-4
For this tribute to the richness of the natural world, Grinnell College biologist Campbell (The Crystal Desert) traveled to 10 of the remarkable habitats protected by the Nature Conservancy's Last Great Places program. Campbell's prose is only workmanlike but his understanding of ecosystems is deep and conveyed clearly as he describes the geological and biological history of these preserves, as well as the influence that humans have had on the flora and fauna of each area. Focusing on reserves in three South American countries (Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay), Belize, Mexico, the Palau Islands and four U.S. states (Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and Montana), his reach is international, yet rooted in the regional. Campbell describes the current state of wildlife--whether bison in Montana, flamingos in Mexico or mangroves in Belize--in these preserves, which he views as habitat islands surrounded by human disturbance. Unless great care is taken, he explains, all are ephemeral; but if they are lost, some small solace will be gained by knowing that they have been chronicled in this fine, well-organized book. The text is complemented by 100 striking color photographs. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
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