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Requiem for Nature


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For ecologist John Terborgh, Manu National Park in the rainforest of Peru is a second home; he has spent half of each of the past twenty-five years there conducting research. Like all parks, Manu is assumed to provide inviolate protection to nature. Yet even there, in one of the most remote corners of the planet, Terborgh has been witness to the relentless onslaught of civilization.Seeing the steady destruction of irreplaceable habitat has been a startling and disturbing experience for Terborgh, one that has raised urgent questions: Is enough being done to protect nature? Are current conservation efforts succeeding? What could be done differently? What "should" be done differently? In "Requiem for Nature," he offers brutally honest answers to those difficult questions, and appraises the prospects for the future of tropical conservation. His book is a clarion call for anyone who cares about the quality of the natural world we will leave our children.Terborgh examines current conservation strategies and considers the shortcomings of parks and protected areas both from ecological and institutional perspectives. He explains how seemingly pristine environments can gradually degrade, and describes the difficult social context -a debilitating combination of poverty, corruption, abuses of power, political instability, and a frenzied scramble for quick riches -in which tropical conservation must take place. He considers the significant challenges facing existing parks and examines problems inherent in alternative approaches, such as ecotourism, the exploitation of nontimber forest products, "sustainable use," and "sustainable development."Throughout, Terborgh argues that the greatest challengesof conservation are not scientific, but are social, economic, and political, and that success will require simultaneous progress on all fronts. He makes a compelling case that nature can be saved, but only if good science and strong institutions can be thoughtfully combined

Book News Annotation:

In a new preface to this first paperback edition of Island Press's 1999 hardcover publication, Terborgh (co-director, Duke U. Center for Tropical Conservation) notes that some dire predictions, e.g., about West Africa's deteriorating conservation situation, have come to pass. He critiques current conservation strategies including ecotourism and sustainable development, and argues that saving habitat requires economic and political will as well as science. More optimistically, he cites evidence of global re-commitment to the need for conservation.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

About the Author

John Terborgh is James B. Duke Professor of Environmental Science and Botany and co-director of the Center for Tropical Conservation at Duke University. Among his books are Where Have All the Birds Gone? (Princeton University Press, 1990) and Diversity and the Tropical Rain Forest (W. H. Freeman and Co., 1992).

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Making of a Dissident

Chapter 2. Assessing the Present

Chapter 3. Paradise Fading

Chapter 4. The Danger Within

Chapter 5. Parks:The Last Bastions of Nature

Chapter 6. Protecting Biodiversity

Chapter 7. Preserving Biodiversity for Posterity

Chapter 8. Tropical Forests:Worth More Dead Than Alive

Chapter 9. From Wildlands to Wasteland: Land Use and the Mirage of Sustainable Development

Chapter 10. Why Conservation in the Tropics Is Failing: The Need for a New Paradigm

Chapter 11. Hard Choices in the Twenty-First Century

Chapter 12. Nature, a Global Commons




Product Details

Terborgh, John
Island Press
Environmental Science
Environmental Conservation & Protection
Trees & Forests - Rainforests
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Ecosystems & Habitats - Forests & Rainforests
Environmental Studies-Environment
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in

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