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Before They Vanish

Saving Nature's Populations — and Ourselves

Paul R. Ehrlich, Gerardo Ceballos, Rodolfo Dirzo
foreword by Jared Diamond

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Legendary conservationists show us that we still have the power to prevent critical consequences of the sixth extinction in this game-changing book.

Can we save threatened animals and ecosystems in the midst of a mass extinction? The answer is a resounding yes, and Before They Vanish shows us how. In their ambitious, impassioned, and wise new book, conservation scientists Paul R. Ehrlich, Gerardo Ceballos, and Rodolfo Dirzo urge us to shift our thinking rather than bow our heads, grieving over the losses that humanity faces. This comprehensive look at a crucial but often overlooked aspect of...

Legendary conservationists show us that we still have the power to prevent critical consequences of the sixth extinction in this game-changing book.

Can we save threatened animals and ecosystems in the midst of a mass extinction? The answer is a resounding yes, and Before They Vanish shows us how. In their ambitious, impassioned, and wise new book, conservation scientists Paul R. Ehrlich, Gerardo Ceballos, and Rodolfo Dirzo urge us to shift our thinking rather than bow our heads, grieving over the losses that humanity faces. This comprehensive look at a crucial but often overlooked aspect of conservation—population extinction—urges us toward a new, hopeful path.

While the extinction of species describes the global disappearance of entire kinds of organisms, population extinction represents the loss of fundamental geographic elements of species. The authors argue that conservationists have placed too much emphasis on the extinction of entire species, which occurs gradually enough that we only detect it in the direst of cases, by which time meaningful action may be impossible. By shifting the focus to identifying extinction threats at the more localized population level, we can intervene more rapidly and effectively to prevent broader declines—and the eventual extinction of entire species themselves. This shift represents a critical step in saving these vanishing species; early detection and intervention may be our last, best hope for stemming the tide of this global crisis.

Using examples from the worlds of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, fungi, and microorganisms, the authors explain the concept of population extinction, its causes and consequences, and how to prevent the mass destruction of the amazing and unique creatures with whom we share our planet. This call to action is a must-read for anyone concerned with saving endangered and threatened species, our natural world—and ourselves.

Reviews

Reviews

This magnificent, painstaking work is an ode to life and is at once also a bitter testimony on the speed at which the human economy is eliminating life's untold manifestations. Written by today's foremost experts on biodiversity loss, this is scientific writing at its truest.

All people, whether living in ancient or modern times, in luxury or destitution, in mega-cities or vast wild landscapes, depend intimately and utterly on nature. This beautifully written and illustrated book shows how we are all a part of nature, and all we now stand to lose from declines of numbers of even common organisms. The authors lay out a hopeful path to harmonizing people and nature—and a role for everyone.

This book connects us deeply with the amazing diversity of forms of life with which we share this planet. Addressing the loss of populations of species requires an urgent shift toward engaging in meaningful, caring, and reciprocal ways with populations of common as well as rare species. This book represents a compelling invitation to do so.

Reading this outstanding book, one will gain an appreciation of the way in which tens of millions of species have evolved together over 4.5 billion years on our planet, leading to the great extinction of today. Highly recommended!

Before They Vanish is more than just a book; it is a call to arms. It urges us to confront our own complicity in the destruction of biodiversity and to take meaningful action to safeguard the wonders of our planet for generations to come. With its eloquent prose and unwavering optimism, this book stands as a testament to the power of knowledge, compassion, and collective action in the face of adversity.

About

Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
384
ISBN
9781421449692
Illustration Description
14 b&w photos, 16 color plates
Table of Contents

Foreword
Jared Diamond
Preface
Chapter 1. From Origins to Extinction
Chapter 2. The Sixth Mass Extinction
Chapter 3. Lost and Vanishing Mammals
Chapter 4. Bird Songs Long Gone and Declining
Chapter 5. The

Foreword
Jared Diamond
Preface
Chapter 1. From Origins to Extinction
Chapter 2. The Sixth Mass Extinction
Chapter 3. Lost and Vanishing Mammals
Chapter 4. Bird Songs Long Gone and Declining
Chapter 5. The Silent Crisis: Other Vertebrates
Chapter 6. Ignored Victims: Invertebrates
Chapter 7. Vanishing Green: Plants—Our Emerald Treasure
Chapter 8. Microbes: A Hidden World
Chapter 9. Defaunation
Chapter 10. Drivers of Extinction
Chapter 11. Nature's Decline: The Costs
Chapter 12. The Cure: A Bittersweet Pill
Notes
References
Standard and Scientific Name Index
Subject Index

Author Bios
Paul R. Ehrlich
Featured Contributor

Paul R. Ehrlich

Paul R. Ehrlich (PALO ALTO, CA) is the emeritus Bing Professor of Population Studies in the Department of Biology and the president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is the author of The Population Bomb and Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect.
Gerardo Ceballos
Featured Contributor

Gerardo Ceballos

Gerardo Ceballos, one of the world’s leading ecologists, is a professor at the Institute of Ecology at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has established more than twenty protected areas in Mexico and is the author or coauthor of more than 55 books. Ehrlich and Ceballos are coauthors of The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals.