Synopses & Reviews
How much is really known about the species that make up the natural world? In this fascinating book, Ken Thompson explains what we do and don't understand about biodiversity. We know that most species remain undiscovered, and that biodiversity is gravely threatened by overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Life on Earth has previously experienced five episodes of mass extinction, and we are now in the middle of a sixth. Do We Need Pandas? surveys the Earth's biodiversity, its origins, and some of the threats it currently faces. It then asks how biodiversity loss will affect the human race. Will we even notice, and if we do, what will we notice? It asks what we should be doing to secure the survival not only of the species with which we share the planet, but of ourselves—and whether we need to be more concerned about ecosystems as a whole than about iconic species.
"Plain-talking and thought-provoking, at times controversial, Ken Thompson's take on biodiversity doesn't leave you the option of remaining neutral about one of the most important issues of the 21st century."--John Spicer, Professor of Marine Biology and author of Biodiversity: A Beginner's Guide
"It's about time someone wrote a genuinely readable book about biodiversity. Thank goodness for Ken Thompson, who has done it with a rare mixture of biological mastery, good common sense and writer's flair. Essential reading."--Mark Carwardine, BBC zoologist
"Closing with reasons to be cheerful, it offers a fresh and fascinating look at a subject of increasing importance." —Positive News newspaper
About the Author
Ken Thompson is a former senior research fellow and honorary senior lecturer in the department of animal and plant sciences at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of several books, including The Book of Weeds, An Ear to the Ground: Understanding Your Garden, and No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening. He is a coauthor of The Ecology of Seeds.