As the human population inexorably grows, its cumulative impact on the Earth's resources is hard to ignore. The ability of the Earth to support more humans is dependent on the ability of humans to manage natural resources wisely. Because disturbance alters resource levels, effective management requires understanding of the ecology of disturbance.
This book is the first to take a global approach to the description of both natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes that physically impact the ground. Natural disturbances such as erosion, volcanoes, wind, herbivory, flooding and drought plus anthropogenic disturbances such as foresty, grazing, mining, urbanization and military actions are considered. Both disturbance impacts and the biotic recovery are addressed as well as the interactions of different types of disturbance. Other chapters cover processes that are important to the understanding of disturbance of all types including soil processes, nutrient cycles, primary productivity, succession, animal behaviour and competition. Humans react to disturbances by avoiding, exacerbating, or restoring them or by passing environmental legislation. All of these issues are covered in this book.
Managers need better predictive models and robust data-collections that help determine both site-specfic and generalized responses to disturbance. Multiple disturbances have a complex effect on both physical and biotic processes as they interact. This book provides a wealth of detail about the process of disturbance and recovery as well as a synthesis of the current state of knowledge about disturbance theory, with extensive documentation.
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R.C. Anderson, Dept of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University
...This 33-chapter book provides a comprehensive review of the literature on global disturbance, written by a group of international scientists.(...)
All chapters(...)that I intensively reviewed were well written and organized, contained comprehensive reviews of the literature, and considered key concepts related to the chapter focus.
(...)The book effectively draws together ideas on the effect of disturbances on ecosystem and ecosystems processes on a global scale. Attention is given to the role of humans in generating disturbance, how disturbances created from a variety of sources impact human economic and social systems, and the ways in which humans react to these disturbances. Overall, the authors and editor should be complimented on producing a book that is global in coverage and will be useful to persons interested in the science of disturbed ecosystems and those actively involved in restoration and management of these systems.
Journal of Vegetation Science
...There is much here to inform teaching and learning, and numerous avenues of research to be explored further. It is a particularly valuable source-book on the subject of disturbance in ecosystems, and it contains some stimulating contributions.
Journal of Ecology (GB), Vol. 88
...This book is useful as a tool for exploring divergent points of view on basic ecological questions. It has great value as a reference on a variety of subjects related to ecological disturbance, and would be useful as a supplementary text for students studying environmental issues and basic ecology.
...A fine selection of papers that present an organized overview of both natural and anthropogenic disturbances of terrestrial and freshwater systems on a truly worldwide basis.
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