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The Death of Expertise

Rating: Tom Nichols. 2017. The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and why it matters. Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 046941 2. Do you feel we have more information and less knowledge? Have you spent years honing skills and understanding in a particular topic only to be told that you know nothing? Join the band of “experts” who are increasingly told that their opinion is worth just the same as anyone else’s. Over matters of little […]

The Theory of Ecological Communities

Rating: Mark Velland. 2017. The Theory of Ecological Communities. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978 0 691 16484 7 Usually, this site reviews texts that cover a range of topics and provide introductions to a broad range of ecological thinking. This text covers just a single area, and a theoretical one at that. As such, it’s a highly advanced text but the underlying theme, that of creating a simple framework for discussion, has implications that can be used elsewhere. The aim […]

The New Ecology

Rating: Oswald J Schmitz. 2017. The New Ecology: rethinking science for the Anthropocene. Princeton University Press. ISBN978 0 691 16056 6 There are numerous ecology texts on the market and most cover much the same material. In the last 30 years we’ve seen a move towards more specialised areas not in terms of ecological basics like populations, ecosystem¬† and communities but in the way that specific places are developing their “own” ecology. Scanning the publishers lists as I do to […]

Applied Ecology

Rating: Anne E Goodenough and Adam G Hart. 2017. Applied Ecology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978 0 19 872328 8 One of the big issues in education, especially in these days, is to find a pedagogical “hook” with which to draw in learner interest. This is a useful (some would argue, necessary) but not sufficient condition. You also need subject matter focussed in such a way as to draw the reader in. Ecology is an obvious topic because the concept […]

Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth

Rating: Alison Bashford. 2014. Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth. Columbia University Press. ISBN978 0 231 14767 5. Be careful what you wish for. Leaving aside issues on who actually produced these words, they do seem rather apposite for studies on the population numbers debate in the C20th. The problem of over-population would be solved, we were told at the time, by aiming for zero population growth (zpg) – that net increase and decrease would balance. Now, there […]

Earth’s Climate Evolution

Rating: Colin P Summerhayes. 2015. Earth’s Climate Evolution. Wiley. ISBN 978 1 118 89739 3 There are so many books published on global warming that it’s hard to keep track of them. Most say variations on the same theme – the anthropogenic warming of the planet and the impacts that might befall us quite soon (or, instantly, in geological time!). This side of the debate quotes innumerable studies, scientists and data. There’s the other side of the debate that deny […]

Ecological Methods 4e

Rating: PA Henderson and TRE Southwood. 2016. Ecological Methods 4e. Wiley. ISBN 978 1 118 89528 3 There are some books which go into numerous editions that are easy to review, in that new material can alter the focus of the text. Then there’s the classic text, such as the one reviewed here, where the content is so well known that it is almost enough to just give the name and hit ‘publish’! This is the fourth edition of the […]

Ecology of Urban Environments

Rating: Kirsten M Parris. 2015. Ecology of Urban Environments. Wiley. ISBN978 1 4443 3265 0 There was a time not long ago when an urban environment was something that destroyed natural systems. This might very well have been the truth then, as well as today, but the focus has changed with an increasing number of books devoted to the relatively new science of urban ecology. The focus is generally on how natural systems adapt to urban settings. There’s also the […]

Ecology of North America. 2e.

Rating: Brian R Chapman and Eric G Bolen. 2016. Ecology of North America. 2e. Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978 1 118 97154 3 One of the issues faced when examining foreign ecosystems is getting sufficient background information to be enable comparison with ones better known to the reader. Anything that helps this situation creates two advantages – a better understanding of the theoretical linkages between disparate ecosystems and the ability to understand the practical aspects of plant-animal interactions. Luckily, for North […]

Soil Science Simplified. 6e.

Rating: Neil S Eash, Thomas J Sauer, Deb O’Dell and Evah Odoi. 2016. Soil Science Simplified. 6e. Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978 1 118 54069 5 One of the more difficult ideas with students is getting them to appreciate the value of soil. Synonyms don’t help – “dirt” being the least useful! It’s just stuff to grow things in, wipe off the shoes and generally get an indifferent, if not actually bad, press. It makes a difference to see it as […]