Note: This article is from Conservation Magazine, the precursor to Anthropocene Magazine. The full 14-year Conservation Magazine archive is now available here.

On the Bookshelf, Fall 2002

July 29, 2008

Carnivore Conservation
Edited by John L. Gittleman, Stephan M. Funk, David W. Macdonald, and Robert K. Wayne
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Reviewed by Kathleen Snow

Are carnivores worth the disproportionate costs of conserving them? They are rare, elusive, and dangerous—and extremely expensive to study and conserve. Nevertheless, when we think about carnivores in a conservation context, it is striking how pivotal they are as indicators, flagships, or umbrella species, or all of the above. No one is neutral about carnivores—least of all the diverse group of contributing authors in this volume. Together, they succeed in building a powerful case for carnivore conservation by synthesizing the current state of knowledge in this field and providing a wealth of ideas on practical applications and research opportunities. If you are willing to tackle the somewhat technical language in places, you will find chapters covering human-carnivore conflicts, disease ecology, introductions and reintroductions, and more.

Maintaining a clear focus and consistent style among such a varied and distinguished group of authors is somewhat akin to the proverbial job of herding cats: not to be undertaken lightly. In this case, editors Gittleman et al. have done a fine job. Because this book is structured to provide overviews of issues rather than presentations of individual researchers’ data, it will be particularly useful to students and teachers as well as field biologists. Managers of reserves and public lands will find valuable information in chapters such as Sillero-Zubiri and Laurenson’s piece on interactions between carnivores and local communities or Ginsberg’s evaluation of different priority setting strategies. Editor David Macdonald, an award-winning writer, elegantly concludes the volume with a discussion of the broad social, moral, and economic questions that frame our options for carnivore conservation in the future.

Justice and Natural Resources: Concepts, Strategies, and Applications
Edited by Kathryn Mutz, Gary Bryner, and Douglas Kenney
Island Press, 2001
Reviewed by Kathleen Snow

Just over two decades ago, research findings that environmentally hazardous facilities were more likely to be sited near poor and minority communities gave rise to the environmental justice movement. This book takes the concept into the broader arena of natural resources, considering how decisions about the management and use of natural resources can exacerbate social injustice. For example, one chapter looks at the potential for using civil rights laws to address damage to natural and cultural resources. Another examines the parallels between U.S. and international environmental justice issues. Others focus in on specific cases that reveal cultural sources of persistent environmental controversies and point out the potential for hidden inequities in water, forest, mining and other natural resource management. The chapters on tribal sovereignty issues and collaborative decision making should be of particular interest to public land managers. The academic writing style makes this volume a slow read at times, but the book provides a valuable overview of a relatively new field as well as useful appendices covering relevant cases and statutes.

Organzing Scientific Meetings
By August Epple
Cambridge University Press, 1997
Reviewed by Kathleen Snow

Anyone planning to organize a major meeting, symposium, or conference would do well to read this book first. If Epple’s all-too-familiar examples of conference planning disasters don’t scare you off, this compact volume offers the committed and determined host everything needed. It covers a wide range of events, identifies common problems and solutions, and offers an invaluable collection of sample documents such as invitation letters, hotel contracts, timelines, schedules, and checklists. Written with intelligence and humor, the author clearly speaks from experience. Whether you are dealing with the special considerations of international locales, the painful problems of pulling together proceedings, or selecting speakers without losing your job and all your friends, Mr. Epple manages to offer sound and entertaining advice.

What to Read Next