First published in 1988, ""Islands in a Far Sea"" offers a comprehensive environmental history of Hawai'i. This thoroughly revised edition begins with an up-to-date account of the geological formation and shaping of the Islands, their colonization by plants and animals, and the patterns of ecology and evolution that unfolded in nurturing seas and on breath-taking landscapes. This book tells the story of human interaction with Hawai'i's native landscapes and rich biological heritage. The author's accessible language allows readers to grasp basic geological and biological principles and to understand the perhaps surprising vulnerability of Hawaiian ecosystems - which have coevolved with volcanoes - to human impact. ""Islands in a Far Sea"" includes many well-documented historical examples of such impacts, featuring growth and greed, fears and foibles as humans confronted endemic nature in Hawai'i. Citing a large array of sources, the author makes it possible for interested readers to probe more deeply the changes in natural systems that have ensued on all of the Hawaiian Islands. To date the result has been the tragic reduction of a unique and benign biota. However, the book holds out hope that current efforts to protect what is left of Hawai'i's flora and fauna in their remaining wild settings may yet succeed.
John L. Culliney is a graduate of Yale and Duke universities and holds a doctorate in zoology. He has taught biology and marine science in Hawai'i since 1978 and has authored four books on subjects ranging from the North American continental shelf to the horticulture of native Hawaiian plants. He lives on the island of O'ahu.