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A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park [With DVD]by Edward O. Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
The remarkable story of how one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world was destroyed, restored, and continues to evolveand#8212;with stunning, full-color photographs by two of the worldand#8217;s best wildlife photographers.andlt;brandgt;andlt;brandgt;In 1976, Gorongosa National Park was the premier park in Mozambique, boasting one of the densest wildlife populations in all of Africa. Across 1,500 square miles of lush green floodplains, thick palm forests, swampy lakes, and vast plains roamed creatures great and small, from herds of wildebeest and elephant to countless bird species and insects yet to be classified. Then came the civil war of 1978and#8211;1992, when much of the ecosystem was destroyed, reducing some large animal populations by 90 percent or more. Due to a remarkable conservation effort sponsored by an American entrepreneur, the park was restored in the 1990s and is now evolving back to its former state. This is the story of that incredible transformation and why such biological diversity is so important.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In andlt;Iandgt;A Window on Eternityandlt;/Iandgt;, world-renowned biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prizeand#8211;winner Edward O. Wilson shows why biodiversity is vital to the future of the Earth, including our human population. It is in places like Gorongosa in Africa, explains Wilson, that our own species evolved. Wilson takes readers to the forested groves of the parkand#8217;s watershed on sacred Mount Gorongosa, then far away to deep gorges along the edge of the Rift Valley, places previously unexplored by biologists, with the aim of discovering new species and assessing their ancient origins. He treats readers to a war between termites and raider ants, describes and#8220;conversationsand#8221; with elephant herds, and explains the importance of a one-day and#8220;bioblitz.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Praised as and#8220;one of the finest scientists writing todayand#8221; (andlt;Iandgt;Los Angeles Timesandlt;/Iandgt;), Wilson uses the story of Gorongosa to show the significance of biodiversity to humankind.
"Wilson (Letters to a Young Scientist) presents a lyrical ode to biodiversity within the framework of a memoir of his work in Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, helping to rebuild it from the loss of nearly all of its megafauna as it was neglected, repurposed as a battleground, and destroyed by poachers during the 16-year civil war. Wilson speaks with passion throughout, whether decoding evidence of our ancestors in Africa, expressing admiration of his professional peers, detailing the joy of everyday people cataloguing bugs in a 'bioblitz,' diving into the details of eternal ant wars, or simply describing the preserve's beauty with just the right amount of sentimentality. Nasrecki's lush landscapes, elephant and primate portraits, and bright, strangely charismatic insect close-ups enliven every spread, making this volume's visual content as remarkable as the stories. With the success of the Gorongosa project as his example, Wilson makes a persuasive plea for reserving large areas of the Earth as sanctuaries for not only the big predators, but for the tiny species, too numerous to even have been documented, that live in micro-niches in our wildest areas. Color photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
andlt;iandgt;A Window on Eternityandlt;/iandgt; is a stunning book of splendid prose and gorgeous photography about one of the biologically richest places in Africa and perhaps in the world. Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique was nearly destroyed in a brutal civil war, then was reborn and is now evolv-ing back to its original state. Edward O. Wilsonand#8217;s personal, luminous description of the wonders of Gorongosa is beautifully complemented by Piotr Naskreckiand#8217;s extraordinary photographs of the parkand#8217;s exquisite natural beauty. A bonus DVD of Academy Awardand#8211;winning director Jessica Yuand#8217;s documentary, andlt;I andgt;The Guideandlt;/Iandgt;, is also included with the book. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Wilson takes readers to the summit of Mount Gorongosa, sacred to the local people and the parkand#8217;s vital watershed. From the forests of the mountain he brings us to the deep gorges on the edge of the Rift Valley, previously unexplored by biologists, to search for new species and assess their ancient origins. He describes amazing animal encounters from huge colonies of agricultural termites to speand#173;cialized raider ants that feed on them to giant spiand#173;ders, a battle between an eagle and a black mamba, and#8220;conversationsand#8221; with traumatized elephants that survived the slaughter of the parkand#8217;s large animals, and more. He pleads for Gorongosaand#8212;and other wild placesand#8212;to be allowed to exist and evolve in its timeand#173;less way uninterrupted into the future. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;As he examines the near destruction and rebirth of Gorongosa, Wilson analyzes the balance of nature, which, he observes, teeters on a razorand#8217;s edge. Loss of even a single species can have serious ramifications throughout an ecosystem, and yet we are carelessly destroying complex biodiverse ecosystems with unknown consequences. The wildlands in which these ecosystems flourish gave birth to humanity, and it is this natural world, still evolving, that may outlast us and become our legand#173;acy, our window on eternity.
About the Author
Edward O. Wilson is generally recognized as one of the worldand#8217;s leading scientists. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of many influential books, including andlt;i andgt;The Diversity of Lifeandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;i andgt;Naturalistandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;i andgt;The Antsandlt;/iandgt;, and andlt;iandgt;Sociobiology: The New Synthesisandlt;/iandgt;. He is currently Honorary Curator in Entomology and University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University.
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