Book review – Nature all around us by Beatrix Beisner, Christian Messier and Luc-Alain Giraldeau

This is a lovely little book: small in size but great in scope.

It is subtitled a ‘guide to urban ecology’ but since ecology is the same everywhere it is a guide to ecology which has been approached through the everyday sights and sounds that surround those people who might think that they are most divorced from the ecological world.  It’s a good idea and it’s well done in this book.

Written by a variety of authors the 25 chapters take the reader through the ideas of niches, competition, ecological services, predator/prey relationships, evolution by natural selection and a host of other ideas by way of cats, lichens, spiders, dandelions, gulls and pigeons.

The authors live in North America so the gulls are ring-billed gulls and the squirrels are gray squirrels but those slight differences won’t detract at all from the enjoyment of a European reader.

Jargon-free but ideas-rich this book would appeal to anyone from the age of about 15 upwards.

Available on Amazon and published by University of Chicago Press.


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10 Replies to “Book review – Nature all around us by Beatrix Beisner, Christian Messier and Luc-Alain Giraldeau”

  1. Aren’t we supposed to be boycotting Amazon until they start paying a bit more tax? I must say that I’ll find it very inconvenient if we are!

    1. PeterD – and maybe we should have thought of that before all the local bookshops closed! Please feel free to boycott Amazon except for your copy of Fighting for Birds (also available, signed copies, from the author)

  2. If you wish to support local independent booksellers but also take advantage of the cOnvenience of on-line shopping there are options eg Cogito books in Northumberland. They may not be able to offer the same discounts as Amazon but I guess that is the price of principle.

  3. Thank you for flagging that up Mark, looks like the perfect gift for one my urbanite friends.

    On another note, completely off-topic (sorry!), it has just been pointed out to me that Defra has changed their logo. According to my source, the logo has been changed so as…. “to look more serious and business like”.

    Given that the Chancellor has just announced that next years Defra budget has been cut by £20m, with a further cut of £35m for 2014/15, I wonder if changing the logo was really necessary ? Though more to the point how much will this whole re-logo’ing exercise have cost the Dept ?

  4. Hi Mark
    I have ordered this book, but the amazon link you gave was american which will involve extra postage. This is the amazon “UK” link
    And on the american theme did you mean GREY Squirrel ? From what I understand “gray” is a unit of radiation in the english language.
    I have purchased another book recommended by you called “Wild Hope” which is very good and written by a top academic but in a very readable manner. I just hope that you are recommending todays book on merit and not because of nepotism or similar reason.
    Here is a book which I would like to recommend
    It is a very comprehensive wildguides book about the 34 species of marine mammals found in the UK, where to see them, how to identify them etc. Lots of photos by Hugh Harrop, many of which were taken in the Shetland Islands. Even a walrus was sighted in Shetland in 2002 !! NB. I have no links to authors, etc.

    1. David H – I don’t think I share any more genes with the authors of this book than I do with you or any other randomly chosen person in the street, so it’s certainly not nepotism.

      And I’ve updated the link – thanks for pointing that out to me.

  5. Since people seem to be recommending books can I recommend “Keep your rich school buddies happy, whilst cr*****g on the nation” by George Osbourne availiable online from’tbemuchleftapartfromacompanylogo)wedidawaywithsmallbookshopsandtherearen’tgoingtobemanypubliclibrariessotoughwearen’ SORRY IF THE LINK DOESN’T WORK. The best part of the book, is the final chapter, it inspired me to save on my heating bill by tossing it onto the fire.

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