The BP oil spill and other recent catastrophic environmental disasters have received attention in the popular media and provoked controversy at a local, national, and sometimes international level. Yet at the heart of each of these stories lie serious environmental challenges that influence the survival of countless species, including our own. Biodiversity follows the sharp decline in diversity within land and marine ecosystems since the mid-20th century. This new resource looks at past and present challenges of maintaining the health of critical ecosystems, highlighting the experimental solutions that are the most effective at stemming the tide of loss. It outlines the five principal human-made causes of extinctions, exploring habitat loss, fragmentation, and disruption. The unrelenting issue of toxic contamination in an industrialized world as well as the urgent need to protect endangered species from overexploitation are other topics explored in this comprehensive book. Biodiversity is ideal for anyone considering a career in conservation biology, ecology, oceanography, and related sciences, environmental law, ethics, or policy.