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Examines the extinction of various plants and animals, mankind's effect on the biosphere and species loss, and the preservation and protection of life forms.
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Grade 8-12-- A superior account. Stefoff discusses previous extinctions in some depth, effectively contrasting them with the present situation to give a well-balanced treatment of the problems. Beginning with a few examples of human-caused extinctions, she gives a clear idea of the magnitude of the dilemma. She also covers prehistoric extinctions in order to show how the present crisis differs. While presenting some of the more interesting current viewpoints, the author also conveys the current scientific consensus. Most usefully, she outlines up-to-date ideas on "paths to extinction." Particularly effective are the descriptions of the benefits to humanity of biological diversity. Although animal species get most of the attention, some plants are mentioned. Since this is a controversial topic, Stefoff's style of comparing and contrasting viewpoints is particularly appropriate. Christopher Lampton's Endangered Species (Watts, 1988) is shorter and aimed at a lower reading level. The black-and-white illustrations are well keyed to the text; there is a supplementary section of color photos bound into the center. Three boxed articles also interrupt the text. The list of further reading includes recent periodicals as well as books. --Jonathan Betz-Zall, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, Edmonds, WA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In a well-organized overview of a vital subject, Stefoff surveys extinctions since the earth began, especially discussing theories about the several periods of ``mass extinctions,'' then going on to show how man-caused extinctions differ in both causes and effects from earlier cataclysms, covering the pressures exerted on environments and preservation efforts. She deals evenhandedly with issues like how to balance the survival of animal species and the real needs of their human neighbors, and with the debate over using triage to target species to be saved. A bit dry but, overall, lucid, well researched, and thought- provoking. Many useful b&w photos of varying quality plus an eight-page color section; international list of conservation organizations and US government agencies; bibliography; glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 11+) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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