We live on an unexplored planet, ignorant of more than eighty percent of the species that share our world. In this fascinating and abundantly illustrated book, two eminent ecologists discuss the biological diversity of the Earth, showing how the natural systems that surround us play an essential role in protecting our basic life-support systems.
Andrew Beattie and Paul Ehrlich tell us about the millions of species providing ecosystem services that maintain the quality of our air and water and the fertility of the soil, dispose of domestic, industrial, and agricultural waste, and protect crops from pests. The authors also describe how biological diversity opens the way for new medicines, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and designs, and manufactured goods. They point to innovative industries that harness species for the biological repair of damaged landscapes, biological mining, biological pest control, and biomonitoring of the environment. The organisms upon which these activities are founded—although often microscopic, obscure, or bizarre—provide natural capital that is worth infinitely more than anyone has previously guessed. The authors urge us to protect the biological wealth of our Earth and keep it from being destroyed by human activity.
Winner of the 2001 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature and Environment Category"Wild Solutions brilliantly regales the reader with the ingenuity and diversity of Nature, and with humanity’s dependence on the fragile ‘natural internet.’ of our ‘little-known planet.’ It is a powerful imperative for the preservation of natural capital, so that we may continue to borrow upon it in improving our quality of life, and in maintaining our place on Earth. Must-reading for everyone."—Simon Levin, Princeton University“Wild Solutions reveals a living planet so rich in astonishing detail it reads like fiction. Yet in its living detail lies our much-needed signpost towards ecological sustainability.”—Tim Flannery, Director of the South Australian Museum and author of The Future Eaters and Throwim Way Leg
“Wild Solutions argues for the conservation of natural resources from a firmly utilitarian perspective. Taking examples from a wide range of taxonomic groups, Andrew Beattie and Paul Ehrlich demonstrate how often-overlooked species are fundamental to our continuing viability. . . . An easy read, generating a momentum of energy and excitement about the potential of the natural world to solve many of the problems that face us. . . . This is an inspirational book for the general reader. . . . The destruction of biodiversity is damaging the life-support systems on which we depend, and cutting off our options for the future. By using a huge range of examples, Beattie and Ehrlich get the point across very effectively.”—E.J. Milner-Gulland, Nature
- Winner of the 2001 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature and Environment Category