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Global Ecology in Human Perspective

Charles H. Southwick

Publication Date - 25 April 1996

ISBN: 9780195098679

416 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Written by a well-known ecologist with more than forty years of scientific field work on six continents, this book deals with the ecology of planet earth, focusing on the condition of the global environment and the quality of human life. The author describes the scope and meaning of global ecology and gives a brief review of ecological principles relevant to global concerns. The work concentrates on how we as humans affect global ecosystems and how these changes impact our health, behavior, economics, and politics. Specific sections address the ecological components of planet earth, the biosphere, ecosystem ecology, worldwide environmental trends, and the state of human populations. Other chapters deal with competition and conflict, the ecology of war, an agenda for survival, sustainability, and future prospects.
Accessible to undergraduates, students in adult and professional education, and general readers, this unique work gives a broader definition of our environment than conventional ecology books, emphasizing economic and social dimensions of the global environment. It covers diverse viewpoints, including good news and favorable trends regarding the future, and helps readers think about current ecological problems and those we will face in the future. It discusses how to relate facts and beliefs, how to assess outcomes, and, finally, how me might view and treat the one world in which we live.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. The Meaning and Scope of Global Ecology
    A Few Basic Definitions
    The Environment
    Planet Earth in the Universe
    Summary and References
    Chapter 2. Properties and Components of Planet Earth
    The Lithosphere or Geosphere
    The Hydrosphere
    The Atmosphere
    Atmospheric Weather
    The Biosphere
    Component Interactions
    Chapter 3. The Biosphere
    Extent of the Biosphere
    Functional Properties of the Biosphere
    Environmental Buffering and Homeostasis
    The Gaia Hypothesis
    Chapter 4. Ecological Principles: Ecosystems
    Some Basic Principles of Ecology
    Ecosystem Structure
    Abiotic Substances
    Producer Organisms
    Consumer Organisms
    Decomposer Organisms and Detritivores
    Incomplete Ecosystems
    Cybernetic Control in Ecosystems
    Systems Analysis and Modeling in Ecology
    Chapter 5. Ecosystem Organization and Function
    The Hydrologic Cycle
    The Carbon Cycle
    The Nitrogen Cycle
    The Phosphorus Cycle
    The Sulfur Cycle
    Chapter 6. Energy Flow and Trophic Structure
    The Source of Energy
    Food Chains and Trophic Structure
    Ecologic Pyramids
    Ecologic Efficiencies
    Energy and Human Activities
    Chapter 7. Ecosystem Homeostasis, Succession and Stability
    Homeostasis in Ecosystems
    Global Implications of Ecosystem Homeostasis
    Trophic Structure and Ecosystem Stability
    Ecosystem Development and Succession
    The Conservation of Diversity
    The Controversy over Old-Growth Forests
    Chapter 8. Our Global Condition: A Clash of Concepts
    Global 2000
    Opponents of Global 2000
    Chapter 9. Global Change and Development
    Human Modification of the Earth
    Sustainable Development
    Implications of Sustainable Development
    Chapter 10. Land Degradation
    The Loss of Functional Landscape
    Erosion in Developing Countries
    Other Forms of Land Degradation
    The Positive Side of Land Modification
    Chapter 11. Desertification
    Definitions and Categories of Deserts
    Natural Deserts
    Anthropogenic Deserts
    The Extent of Deserts and Desertification
    Desertification in the Sahel
    Desertification in the United States
    Chapter 12. Deforestation
    The Extent of Forest Ecosystems
    The Ecological Role of Forests
    Forest Types
    Tropical Forests
    Temperate Deforestation
    Causes of Deforestation
    The Role of Forests in Global Ecology
    What Can Be Done?
    Chapter 13. Historical Aspects of Environmental Destruction
    The Ecological Relationships of Hunter-Gatherers
    The Domestication of Plants and Animals
    The Rise of Agriculture
    Civilizations of the Middle East
    Relevance of Environmental History to Modern Problems
    North Africa and the Mediterranean
    Environmental Destruction in Other Parts of the World
    Chapter 14. Population Ecology
    Basic Population Biology
    Patterns of Population Change
    Growth Patterns
    Malthusian Growth
    Logistic Growth
    Reproductive Patterns: "r" and "K" Selection
    Density-Dependent and Density-Independent Factors
    Chapter 15. Human Populations
    Why Is Human Population Growth Occurring?
    Where is World Population Growth Occurring?
    Urban Growth
    Future Prospects
    Population Modeling
    Governmental Responses
    Chapter 16. World Food Supplies
    Magnitude of the Problem
    The Consequences of Food Shortages
    A Brief History of Famine
    World Food Production and Human Population Growth Since 1950
    The Green Revolution
    Risks of the Green Revolution
    Regional Successes and Failures of the Green Revolution
    The Future of World Agriculture
    Recent Trends
    Food From the Oceans
    Chapter 17. Air Pollution
    Sources of Air Pollution
    Types of Air Pollution
    Other Ways of Classifying Air Pollution
    Human Interest Box
    Environmental Influences on Air Pollution
    Ecological Effects of Air Pollution
    Effects on Natural Ecosystems
    Effects on Agroecosystems
    Effects on Human Health
    Effects on Materials
    Control of Air Pollution
    Trends in Air Pollution
    Chapter 18. Weather and Climate Change
    Forces for Warming: The Greenhouse Effect
    Is Global Warming a Reality?
    Forces for Global Cooling
    Atmospheric Turbidity
    Forces in Conflict
    Chapter 19. Water Pollution and Ocean Ecology
    Classifying Water Pollution
    Other Ways of Classifying Water Pollution
    Coastal and Oceanic Pollution
    The Extent of the Oceans
    Ocean Productivity
    Further Evidence of Deterioration in Marine Ecosystems
    Are the Oceans in Jeopardy?
    Chapter 20. The Crisis in Biodiversity
    What Is a Species?
    The Measurement of Diversity
    Statistical Representations of Diversity
    Patterns of Biodiversity
    Why Are There so Many Species?
    Human Impacts on Biodiversity
    Is There a Crisis in Biodiversity?
    Does Diversity Make Any Difference?
    Biodiversity and Human Food Supplies
    The Role of Biodiversity in Forestry and Environmental Restoration
    Biodiversity and the Energy Industry
    Biodiversity and the Pharmaceutical Industry
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    How Many Species Does the Earth Really Need?
    Diversity and Stability
    Chapter 21. The Human Condition: Economics, Demography, and Health
    Ecology and World Health
    The Problem of Disparity
    Economic Disparities
    Disparities in the Quality of Life
    The Poverty Gap
    Chapter 22. Global Patterns of Health
    Industrial High-Income Nations
    Developing Low-Income Nations
    Implications for Public Health
    Human Immune Viruses and AIDS
    Convergence in World Health Patterns
    Chapter 23. Competition and Conflict
    Competition and Evolution
    Forms of Competition
    Interspecific Competition
    Competition and Cooperation
    The Severity of Competition
    Communication or Violence?
    Hierarchies and Territories
    Animal Violence
    Human Aggression
    Violence in America
    Chapter 24. The Ecology of War
    The Causes of War
    A Brief Environmental History of War
    Environmental Aspects of War in the Twentieth Century
    The Persian Gulf
    Nuclear War
    Nuclear Winter
    The Cold War
    Indirect Costs of Conflict
    Signs of Progress
    Chapter 25. Sustainability
    History and Definitions
    Facing the Facts
    Is Sustainability Possible?
    Sustainability in Natural Ecosystems
    Human-Dominated Ecosystems
    Criteria for Sustainability
    Restoration Ecology
    Goals of Restoration
    The Bottom Line
    Chapter 26. Assessment and Agenda
    The World According to Ecology
    A Brief Review of the Ecological Evidence
    The World According to Entrepreneurial Economics
    A Brief Review of the Positive Evidence
    An Agenda for Planet Earth
    Ecological Priorities
    Professional Responsibilities
    Personal Responsibilities
    Chapter 27. Prognosis
    Threats to Progress
    What is Needed?
    Each chapter ends with a summary and references

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