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Earth Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Glacier Science and Environmental Change edited by Peter Knight, Giuseppe Bertola (Blackwell Publishing Professional) is an authoritative and comprehensive reference work on contemporary issues in glaciology. It explores the interface between glacier science and environmental change, past, present, and future.Written by the world's foremost authorities in the subject and researchers at the scientific frontier where conventional wisdom of current approaches comes face to face with unsolved problems, this book provides:

  • state-of-the-art reviews of the key topics in glaciology and related disciplines in environmental change

  • cutting edge case studies of the latest research

  • an interdisciplinary synthesis of the issues that draw together the research efforts of glaciologists and scientists from other areas such as geologists, hydrologists, and climatologists.

The topics in this book have been carefully chosen to reflect current priorities in research, the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and the developing relationship between glaciology and studies of environmental change. Glacier Science and Environmental Change is essential reading for advanced undergraduates, postgraduate research students and professional researchers in glaciology, geology, geography, geophysics, climatology and related disciplines.

The study of glaciers has immense significance for understanding and predicting global environmental change. The planet's glaciers are major players in the unfolding drama of the changing environment, and provide a wealth of information about how climate and other components of the Earth system have changed in the past.

Scientists from different fields have begun to come together in their common interest in glaciers and the Earth's changing environment, and to recognize the increasing importance of interdisciplinary understanding in this area. The rate and scale of progress, however, has meant that researchers and students in fields such as glaciology, Quaternary studies, sedimentology and environmental science find it more and more difficult to keep abreast of the subject as a whole, and to recognize the key issues in areas outside their own specialism.

The purpose of this book is to provide a picture of current scientific understanding of key issues that relate the study of glaciers to the broader field of environmental change. The book presents not just the established common ground of the science, but also some of the uncertainty and controversy that accompanies progress in a dynamic and contested discipline. Contributors were invited to offer their personal perspectives on important topics, and where controversy emerged it has been highlighted as an indication of where the frontier of the science currently stands. For example, on controversial topics such as the role of meltwater in the creation of subglacial landscapes or the mechanisms of ice deformation within ice sheets, papers on the same topic by authors with contrasting views have been placed side by side so that the reader can judge the opposing arguments. Where authors, referees and editor have disagreed about particular issues, such as the naming of Antarctic ice streams or interpretations of data, the authors' preferences have wherever possible been allowed to prevail. This book has not been edited to present a consensus, but compiled to provide a snapshot of what different figures within the discipline consider to be important. The book thus provides:

  1. an authoritative interdisciplinary compilation, accessible to both students and professionals, of the issues that are drawing together the research efforts of glaciologists and other scientists such as geologists, hydrologists, and climatologists who are concerned with how the global system responds to environmental change;
  2. state-of-the-art reviews, and personal perspectives, from sonic of the world's foremost authorities, concerning key topics within glaciology and at the interface between glaciology and related disciplines in environmental change;
  3. cutting-edge case studies by researchers from the scientific frontier where the conventional wisdom of current approaches conies face to face with unsolved problems.

Each of the book's five sections includes a keynote introduction, a series of articles reviewing particularly significant areas of the discipline, and a number of research case-studies relating to topics discussed in the review articles and keynote. The keynote introduction to each section is written by a senior figure within the discipline, providing a personal perspective on the fundamental issues that bring significance to the section and a broad context for the papers that follow. Each keynote is followed by a series of articles by leading authorities covering themes of major contemporary significance in the discipline. Distributed between these articles are shorter papers that provide research case studies that illustrate, or provide a counterpoint to, issues discussed or opinions promoted in the keynotes and reviews. Some of these short case studies are written by senior figures with established reputations, whereas others have been contributed by more junior researchers providing alternative perspectives on traditional approaches. Each section thus comprises a hierarchy of keynote, reviews and case studies, and a hierarchy of elder statesmen, established researchers and relative newcomers. The core of the volume is provided by the reviews, the integration of these reviews is achieved via the keynotes, and additional elaboration, illustration and debate is provided by the case studies. As well as the colour-plate section, selected figures are provided in colour at www.blackwellpublishing.com/knight

The papers in this volume are not intended to be exhaustive accounts, nor to reproduce introductory summaries of the subject that can be found in standard textbooks, but rather to present a picture of the issues that the discipline is currently engaged with, and to provide a starting point for further study. Most importantly this book provides a statement of what some of the leading figures in the field believe to be the most pressing issues in contemporary research in a discipline that concerns the planet's history, its present and its future.

Fishes & Forestry Worldwide Watershed Interactions and Management edited by T. G. Northcote, G.F. Hartman (Blackwell Publishers) Many species of fish occupying inland waters reside in watersheds that were or still are surrounded by forests, and are dependent in major ways upon such cover. The interactions between fishes and forests are complex, multifaceted, dynamic processes involving most inland surface waters, forests, subsurface waters, geology and soils, climate, and the biotic components of the relevant ecosystems. These interactions also include the aspects of forestry tied to human development, economics, population growth and even philosophies.

Fishes and Forestry is truly a landmark publication. The editors, Professors Northcote and Hartman, have drawn together chapters written by 56 scientists from around the world, covering a vast wealth of information never before appearing within the covers of one book. Following an introductory chapter, this exceptional work is broadly divided into sections covering: the ecology of forests, streams, lakes and estuaries; fish biology and ecology; forestry activities and their effects on aquatic systems and fishes; 14 chapters covering examples of fish-forestry interactions from around the world; and a final section covering means of effecting better fish-forestry interactions.

Fishes and Forestry is an essential purchase for all those involved in inland fisheries, forestry and their interaction, including fisheries scientists, fish biologists, ecologists, environmental scientists and forestry scientists. Libraries in all universities and research establishments where these subjects are studied and taught should have several copies on their shelves.

Professor T. G. Northcote is based at the departments of Zoology and of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Professor G. F. Hartman is based at Fisheries Research & Education Services, Nanaimo, BC, Canada.

Excerpt: For various reasons, the subject to date has concentrated largely on salmonid fishes. These may be severely affected by forestry activities; see for example the relevant section in Crisp (2000). We wanted to extend consideration as much as possible to salmonid fishes and to other temperate, subtropical and tropical inland waters of the world, believing that in doing so interesting parallels might be shown and informative differences might emerge. To our knowledge there is no book attempting to give a

broad world coverage of fish–forestry interactions based on an integrated ecological understanding of forests, fishes and the inland waters involved.

We feel strongly that relevant professional workers (forestry, fisheries and others) need a comprehensive synthesis of the subject. So too we believe do senior undergradu­ates, and graduate students (as well as some of their professors), and also the natural resource and environmentally concerned public in general.

Forest removal for timber began millennia ago in Greece and Italy, and elsewhere in Europe in the Middle Ages. The effects on fish in watersheds exposed to such activities were largely unrecorded. So too were those effects associated with later major forest cutting for firewood, agriculture, housing or boat construction in many other parts of the world such as northern Europe, North America and South America. Historically, and even up to the present day in some regions, forest removal has long preceded the development of understanding or concern about its impacts on aquatic systems and especially fish. In the Great Lakes region of North America large white pine trees up to 2 metres in diameter were so abundant in the mid-1800s that loggers considered that those smaller than 1 metre across were `undersized'. Large-scale logging of white pine has been put forward as one of the three main causes for the extirpation of Arctic grayling in watersheds draining into the Great Lakes. But the shape and structure of North American forests probably was altered considerably over millennia before the arrival of recent European settlers, as a result of climate changes and early Eurasian colonists.

Large-scale old-growth forest logging with major effects on the flora and fauna of watersheds, and possibly also climate, is still carried out in boreal and temperate forests of Canada, western Europe and Eurasia. Deforestation by logging and other human activities has occurred in parts of South America, as well as in many of the world's tropical forests. Indeed almost half of the world's former forest cover is now gone, with minimal chances of major replacement.

There are also effects related to log transport, especially in streams and rivers. In Sweden man-made river `floods' by sudden release of water stored behind small dams started in the 1500s and 1600s, and between 1881 and 1965 nearly 200 million logs were floated down one river alone. This practice must have had serious effects on stream biota including fish but studies on these were not started until the late 1800s. Similar releases for downstream log transport were used in many parts of North America and New Zealand well into the 1900s. Railway and road transport, especially in the construction and maintenance phases, can seriously affect watershed conditions and fish. The many effects of log processing (milling for lumber, pulping for paper) have a history spanning well over a century.

It is the above broad array of topics that we will cover in the next seven Parts (see Contents). Chapters 2—5 provide an overview of the ecology of forests, watersheds (streams and rivers), lakes and estuaries. Then we summarize key information on the biology of fish within these interconnected systems in Chapters 6—9, as a first essential for fish protection and management in forested landscapes. In the next three chapters (10—12) we describe the activities in which the forest industry engages to obtain wood fibre, transport it, process it and regenerate new stands of timber. Then follows a review of the effects that these forestry activities — including pulp and paper mills — have on watersheds, lakes and estuaries, along with their food webs leading to fish (Chapters 13—16). Next there are a series of chapters that we have solicited to describe in more depth the fish—forestry interactions in a number of major regions around the world. Finally we consider the regulation—management—education interfaces reflected in the regional chapters and speculate on means to effect better fish—forestry interactions (Chapters 31—34).

The book has aimed at a broad coverage. Because of this, many of the chapters — such as those on the ecology of forests, streams, lakes and estuaries, which might in themselves each fill a single book — are not treated in great depth. The references selected should lead to more in-depth consideration.

World Resources 2000-2001 People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life by World Resources (World Resources Institute) Ecosystems are the productive engines of the planet, providing us with everything from the water we drink to the food we eat and the fiber we use for clothing, paper, and lumber. Yet nearly every measure used to assess the health of ecosystems indicates that we are drawing on them more than ever, while degrading them at an accelerating rate.

How then can we best manage our vital ecosystems-and reduce our own impacts-so that they remain healthy and productive in the face of increasing human demands? Governments and businesses will first have to rethink some basic assumptions about how we measure and plan economic growth, taking into account the natural limits that sustain our ecosystems. This volume brings together the critical information about the condition and long-term prospects of our ecosystems that will be needed to make responsible decisions about their future.

Focusing on five critical systems (croplands, forests, coastal zones, freshwater systems, and grasslands) the book analyzes the value of goods and services currently provided by our ecosystems and their capacity to continue production. It goes on to recommend sweeping changes for managing these biological underpinnings of the global economy and human well-being, including: respecting the natural boundaries of ecosystems and managing them as one complete system, rather that as separate entities; regularly assessing the condition of our ecosystems and studying the processes that underlie their capacity to sustain life; assembling information that allows a careful weighing of tradeoffs between ecosystem goods and services and environmental, political, social, and economic goals; and including the public-particularly local communities-in the management of ecosystems.

A joint publication of the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, World Bank, and World Resources Institute

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