How much do we really know about the species that make up the natural world? In this fascinating book Ken Thompson explains what we do and don't understand about biodiversity. We know that most species remain undiscovered, and that biodiversity is gravely threatened - by overfishing, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Life on Earth has previously experienced five episodes of mass extinction, and we are now in the middle of a sixth.
Do We Need Pandas? surveys the Earth's biodiversity, its origins and some of the threats it currently faces. It then asks how biodiversity loss will affect the human race. Will we even notice, and if we do, what will we notice? It asks what we should be doing to secure the survival not only of the species with which we share the planet, but of ourselves - and whether we need to be more concerned about ecosystems as a whole than about iconic species.
Dr Ken Thompson recently retired as Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Senior Lecturer of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of several books, including The Book of Weeds, An Ear to the Ground: Understanding your garden and No Nettles Required: The reassuring truth about wildlife gardening, and co-author of The Ecology of Seeds.
Foreword by Tony Kendle Introduction 1 What is biodiversity? 2 Biodiversity: where and why? 3 Inside species 4 What is biodiversity worth? 5 Threats to biodiversity 6 Are species necessary? 7 Reasons to be cheerful? Glossary References