Fate of the Wild
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Fate of the Wild

The Endangered Species Act and the Future of Biodiversity

Title Details

Pages: 232

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 03/31/2003

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2492-0

List Price: $30.95

Fate of the Wild

The Endangered Species Act and the Future of Biodiversity

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Given widespread concern over the worldwide loss of biodiversity and popular crusades to "save" endangered species and habitats, why has the Endangered Species Act remained unauthorized since October 1992? In Fate of the Wild Bonnie B. Burgess offers an illuminating assembly of facts about biodiversity and straightforward analysis of the legislative stalemate surrounding the Endangered Species Act. Fate of the Wild surveys the history of and analyzes the conflict over the legislation itself, the heated issues regarding its enforcement, and the land-use and habitat battles waged between conservationists, environmental activists, and private property proponents.

Burgess's meticulous and exhaustive research makes Fate of the Wild a valuable resource for professionals in conservation biology, public policy, environmental law, and environmental organizations, while the narrative clarity of the book will appeal to anyone interested in the fate of nonhuman species.

Burgess explains how wilderness has been consumed by concrete and asphalt, the effects of toxins on plants and animals, strip mine tailings, oil slicks, and smog. She exposes, as well, the "invisible" damage that manifests itself in the subtle degradation of natural systems and in the increased incidence and number of diseases, the rise in human infertility, and the drastic alteration of weather patterns and landscapes.

Fate of the Wild presents a factual and balanced discussion of the various sides of the contemporary debate over the Endangered Species Act, alongside the author's clearly stated position: We are overpopulating, polluting, and overdeveloping our environment, and as a species we have embarked on a crash course toward a sixth great extinction event on this Earth.

Endangered species protection is a central issue in the scientific, political, and public debates about the future of biodiversity on the planet. In Fate of the Wild, Bonnie Burgess covers enormous territory and does a commendable job of boiling down the issues. She steers a balanced course between political extremes and makes a unique contribution to this debate.

—Stanwyn G. Shetler, Curator of Botany Emeritus and former Deputy Director, National Museum of Natural History

In Fate of the Wild, Bonnie Burgess does what has not yet been done, namely to review the whole subject of endangered species in the United States, from the Endangered Species Act to the present day. Fate of the Wild is an important resource for anyone trying to understand the history and the intricacies of this issue—a totally accessible book for the layperson and specialist alike. This is a real contribution.

—Thomas Lovejoy, Counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Chief Biodiversity Advisor, The World Bank

With a level of detail that would impress the wonkiest expert, Burgess recaps the debate that surrounded the initial legislation, as well as Congress' periodic updates of it. . . . The book is rigorously balanced, but Burgess isn't afraid to show her own sympathies.

Washington City Paper

Maintains a judicious balance between the arguments posed by environmental activists and by those who believe that too much environmental activism stands in the way of economic advancement. . . . Experts will appreciate Burgess's sophisticated understanding of biodiversity, while concerned lay readers will enjoy her informed and uncluttered analysis.

Publishers Weekly

Provides a factual and balanced perspective of the views of the 'Enviros' on one side of this issue, and private property rights advocates on the other . . . Meticulously researched and referenced, this is a valuable resource for students, conservation biologists, public policy makers, environmental lawyers, or anyone interested in the inner workings of environmental legislation.

Southeastern Naturalist

A highly readable and useful volume.

—John Sheail, Natural Environment Research Council, UK

A short but important 'read' . . . Not a scientific book, but rather one of history, policy, and hope. Overall, Burgess has done an excellent job of bringing to the forefront of the ESA debate a 'real-life drama with fascinating characters, breathtaking actions, and heartbreaking inaction.'

Journal of Mammalogy

About the Author/Editor

BONNIE B. BURGESS is an adjunct instructor of biodiversity and wildlife conservation in Johns Hopkins University's Advanced Academic Programs, and of environmental sciences at Marymount University. She has been a public educator at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park since 1995.