cover image Nature's Keepers: The New Science of Nature Management

Nature's Keepers: The New Science of Nature Management

Stephen Budiansky. Free Press, $24.5 (310pp) ISBN 978-0-02-904915-0

U.S. News & World Report staffer Budiansky offers three major premises: humans have always interacted with and influenced the natural environment; as ecologists learn more about ecosystems, they are better able to design effective management strategies; anything humans do is natural and, therefore, of no great concern. The first two points are well documented but not overly novel. The last is patently absurd. What Budiansky ignores is that the scale on which humans interact with the environment is vastly greater today than at any other time in history because of our technological prowess and ever-increasing population. He accuses professional ecologists of promoting a political agenda rather than a scientific one, but his glaring naivete calls such an extreme position into question. His claim that science students ``who can't stand the sight of a mathematical equation head for ecology'' makes one wonder if he's ever seen a basic ecology textbook. Budiansky's engaging style does not compensate for his lack of meaningful content. Illustrations. (Sept.)