Synopses & Reviews
Itandrsquo;s easy to stand in awe of a cityandrsquo;s impressive skyline, marveling at its buildings reaching for the clouds and its vast network of roadways and train lines crisscrossing in every direction. It can often seem like everything in a city is man-made, all concrete, steel, and glass. But even the asphalt jungle is not all asphaltandmdash;a sidewalkandrsquo;s cracks are filled with nature, if we know where and how to look.and#160;To aid us in this quest is Nature All Around Us,
which will help us to recognize (and look after) the natural world we traipse through in our daily lives.
Nature All Around Us uses the familiarandmdash;such as summer Sundays humming with lawn mowers, gray squirrels foraging in planters, and flocks of pigeonsandmdash;in order to introduce basic ecological concepts. In twenty-five short chapters organized by scale, from the home to the neighborhood to the city at large, it offers a subtle and entertaining education in ecology sure to inspire appreciation and ultimately stewardship of the environment. Various ecological concepts that any urban dweller might encounter are approachably examined, from understanding why a squirrel might act aggressively towards its neighbor to how nutrients and energy contained within a discarded apple core are recycled back into the food chain. Streaming through the work is an introduction to basic ecology, including the dangers of invasive species and the crucial role played by plants and trees in maintaining air quality.
Taken as a whole, Nature All Around Us is an unprecedented field guide to the ecology of the urban environment that invites us to look at our towns, cities, and even our backyards through the eyes of an ecologist. It is an entertaining, educational, and inspiring glimpse into nature in seemingly unnatural settings, a reminder that we donandrsquo;t have to trek into the wild to see natureandmdash;we just have to open our eyes.
andldquo;This is an easily accessible first look at ecology on your doorstep. Those who want to know about the interconnectedness of the natural world will learn about the same principles that apply in a forest or on a mountain, yet closer to home. Moreover, the reader will learn that ecology is a science that helps explain the complex relationships between animals, plants and microorganisms with their environment. It does not imply a judgment, good or badandmdash;it helps us to look deeper past soundbites and easy fixes and provides a means to develop basic literacy in this important timely area of science.andrdquo;
andldquo;Ladybugs and feral cats, vultures at garbage dumps, chimney swifts endangered by metal flues, all swirl along the boulevards and alleys of thisand#160;ecological mosaic. A wonderful book.andrdquo;
andldquo;Too often we think of nature as something we have to seek out, a remote place far from the city limits; but in fact nature is much closer than we realize. Nature All Around Us encourages us to pause for a moment and recognize the natural world that is truly teeming all around us, even in our most urban spaces. And by doing so, hopefully weandrsquo;ll realize that ecology is not just the domain of scientists, but something we can all practice and enjoy.andrdquo;
andldquo;This is a clever book with a deep message. As the authors show with wit and charm, you donandrsquo;t need to venture into the wilderness to explore the natural world. The wonders of ecology are as close as your front porch, back yard, and city street.andrdquo;
"Nature is all around us, not just in remote places, the authors remind us in this cleverly written work by ecology experts. In short chapters, they urge readers to study the relationships between animal life and mankind, starting first with the immediate scene, the house and garden. Readers may proceed next to the larger setting, the urban community. They draw attention to exotic creatures that invade the environment and will eventually harm native plants and animals. This book, translated from the French (originally entitled and#201;cologie en ville
) by Beatrix Beisner, is not only a guide to ever present nature, but also a subtle reminder to care for the natural world that gives us so much pleasure."
About the Author
is a professor in the Department of Biology at Montreal University in Quebec.Christian Messier
is a professor in the Department of Biology at Montreal University in Quebec.
Luc Alain Giraldeau is a professor in the Department of Biology at Montreal University in Quebec.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What Is Ecology?
PART 1 AROUND THE HOUSE AND GARDEN
1 Apple at My Core
2 Arboreal Aqueducts
3 Lawn Lions
4 Praise for Lazy Gardeners
5 The Evolution of Food
6 Hey, Taxi!
7 Social Life
8 Bathroom Drama
9 Winter Warmth
PART 2 IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
10 The Secret Life of Ponds
11 A Life of Extremes
12 Prowling Predator
14 Animal Intelligentsia
15 Squirrelly Neighbors
16 From the Chimney Tops
17 Long Lifelines
PART 3 THE METROPOLIS
18 Canary in the City
19 Wing Beats
20 Enough Already!
21 Darwinand#8217;s Sweet Tooth?
22 A Breath of Fresh Air
23 Successful Little Birds
24 Opportunistic Gulls
25 Urban Roots