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Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warmingby Anthony Barnosky
Synopses & Reviews
In 2006, one of the hottest years on record, a “pizzly” was discovered near the top of the world. Half polar bear, half grizzly, this never-before-seen animal might be dismissed as a fluke of nature. Anthony Barnosky instead sees it as a harbinger of things to come.
In Heatstroke, the renowned paleoecologist shows how global warming is fundamentally changing the natural world and its creatures. While melting ice may have helped produce the pizzly, climate change is more likely to wipe out species than to create them. Plants and animals that have followed the same rhythms for millennia are suddenly being confronted with a world theyre unprepared for—and adaptation usually isnt an option.
This is not the first time climate change has dramatically transformed Earth. Barnosky draws connections between the coming centuries and the end of the last ice age, when mass extinctions swept the planet. The differences now are that climate change is faster and hotter than past changes, and for the first time humanity is driving it. Which means this time we can work to stop it.
No one knows exactly what nature will come to look like in this new age of global warming. But Heatstroke gives us a haunting portrait of what we stand to lose and the vitality of what can be saved.
"Around the world, climate change is indicated by natural events-especially in shifting migration routes-leading to results familiar (species die-out) and unexpected-like the discovery of a heretofore unprecedented 'pizzly,' a bear cub with one polar parent and one grizzly. Not all geographical displacement is quite so friendly; as ''ecological niches are shriveling up and disappearing,' common and persistent species are dying off at a rate 'between 17 percent and 377 percent faster than normal' over the past 400 years. While reviewing the evidence that points to drastic changes resulting from even small global temperature increases, Barnosky also discusses biodiversity's importance, compares rates of evolutionary change with global temperatures, and recounts Earth's four previous mass extinctions. One of her grim assessments is that 'many of the species that humans tend to like' will be wiped out by global warming, and spur helpful evolutionary diversification only in 'what we normally call pests.' For the most part Barnosky is less gloomy than curious, able and straight-forward, flavoring his report with a sense of adventure and possibility; by the end of his discussion on humanity's four-pronged problem-global warming, habitat loss, introduced species and population growth-Barnosky will have readers looking to do more than change lightbulbs." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Barnosky likes ecosystems just as much as the next scientist, but in "Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming," he argues brilliantly that conservation biology can no longer focus on saving them. The reason is simple: Thanks to global warming, the ecosystem we work to save today will have a different climate tomorrow…. "Heatstroke" begins with an assumption that the "if" questions about global warming have been answered, so on we march toward ways of coping. Most innovative is Barnosky's proposal for wildland reserves, where ecological interactions rather than stable communities would be protected.” — Washington Post
In 2006, one of the hottest years on
About the Author
Since 1990, Anthony D. Barnosky has been on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he currently holds the posts of Professor of Integrative Biology, Curator of Fossil Mammals in the Museum of Paleontology, and Research Paleoecologist in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
Table of Contents
PART I. RECIPE FOR DISASTER?
Chapter 1. The Heat Is On
Chapter 2. Behind Nature's Heartbeat
Chapter 3. On Our Watch
Chapter 4. Witnessing Extinction
Chapter 5. No Place to Run To
PART II. NORMAL FOR NATURE
Chapter 6. California Dreaming
Chapter 7. Disturbance in Yellowstone
Chapter 8. Mountain Time in Colorado
Chapter 9. Africa on the Edge
PART III. UNCHARTED TERRAIN
Chapter 10. Disappearing Act
Chapter 11. Losing the Parts
Chapter 12. Skeleton Crew
Chapter 13. Bad Company
Chapter 14. Geography of Hope
Appendix: Slowing Down Global Warming
What Our Readers Are Saying
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