Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa
John W. Wilson, North Carolina State University
Richard B. Primack
Copyright Year: 2019
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
Conditions of Use
The authors have provided a comprehensive resource for the Conservation Biology of Sub-Saharan Africa. All important and relevant subject areas have been addressed within the textbook that would be covered in other Conservation Biology textbooks.... read more
The authors have provided a comprehensive resource for the Conservation Biology of Sub-Saharan Africa. All important and relevant subject areas have been addressed within the textbook that would be covered in other Conservation Biology textbooks. The authors introduce readers to the field of Conservation Biology and then discuss some of the many threats, including habitat loss, climate change, overharvesting, and several others. Finally, readers are provided solutions such as conserving ecosystems, establishing protected areas, and others. This textbook will provide students with a complete introduction to Conservation Biology specific to Sub-Saharan Africa.
I examined select chapters for accuracy and found the content to be accurate, and most examples were from recent publications. In addition, the authors have gone to great lengths to provide clear and precise examples for many critical concepts presented in the textbook.
The field of Conservation Biology is a new discipline and is rapidly changing. The authors have created an excellent textbook with numerous current topics. For example, the chapter on Climate Change has data and graphics from just months before the publication of the textbook. The chapter “Why we should protect biodiversity” has current information on the economic value of ecological services. Additionally, chapters on threats to biodiversity and conserving ecosystems, preventing extinctions, and the importance of protected areas have several recent and relevant examples. All chapters include supplemental boxes within the text. These sections provide excellent current and relevant examples of the topics covered in the respective section of the chapter. Most examples will remain relevant for many years, ensuring the textbook will not be obsolete in a few years.
I found the text to be clear and easily readable. The authors wrote the textbook in a style that will be well received and comprehended by students. New topics are introduced early within a chapter and then expanded upon later, creating a good basis for terminology related to conservation biology. The authors use many acronyms and provide a list of acronyms before the first chapter. However, students and readers new to the field might find the frequent use of acronyms confusing as they are often introduced early in the chapter and then referenced much later.
I found the text to be consistent throughout the textbook. The consistent writing style will increase student and reader comprehension and understanding of topics.
Each chapter is divided into sub-sections that can often stand alone for smaller reading sections. However, most chapters have topics that refer to sections from previous or future chapters within the textbook. At each location, the authors provide the specific chapter and section where the topic was initially discussed or further expanded. In several cases, the reader will need to navigate to other chapters to gain background information on issues presented, especially if the chapters are not covered in the order they are presented in the textbook. Within each chapter, sub-section, information is further broken into smaller manageable paragraphs that would allow students to gain in the information before losing interest in the material.
The textbook is logically divided into chapters that follow the organization of other Conservation Biology textbooks from Primack. Readers are initially introduced to Conservation Biology and then to the Sub-Saharan African region. Next, the authors discuss methods to protect biodiversity. Threats to biodiversity are then thoroughly discussed. The remainder of the textbook examines techniques to preserve and restore biodiversity. Lastly, readers are presented with future challenges for the field.
I had trouble accessing the online version of the textbook and attempted to view the book with multiple internet browsers. However, the pdf version of the textbook provided great access. All text and images were clear and easily readable on my computer. The authors’ choices of images were perfect and will reinforce topics presented within the text and increase the reader’s interest in the topic. Graphs and tables were precise and conveyed information perfectly to the reader. At the end of each chapter, the authors provide a list of recommended readings and bibliography with active links for readers to access the citation easily.
This textbook has been edited well and is one of the better-edited textbooks I have used or reviewed. There was one occasion of a missing comma. I feel certain that readers will appreciate and benefit from easy-to-read and grammatically correct text.
One strength of the textbook is its specific examples of conservation issues and solutions from Sub-Saharan Africa. Many other Conservation Biology textbooks focus on worldwide topics or North American or European Countries. This textbook was written for students and conservation biologists throughout the world, but it specifically focuses on students and biologists in Sub-Saharan Africa to help educate the next generation of conservation leaders for Africa. However, the examples chosen for the textbook are incredibly diverse and help the reader understand the many different cultures in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors provide several examples and discuss the impact colonialism and colonial governments had on the region’s natural resources. There are no culturally insensitive or offensive materials in the textbook.
This textbook was written for use in Sub-Saharan Africa and is an incredible resource. It can easily be used as a supplemental framework for Conservation Biology courses in other regions. Overall the authors developed an excellent resource for students and biologists. I enjoyed the textbook and will be using sections of the text for my Conservation Biology course. The authors ensured that any student would have the opportunity to full gain knowledge from the textbook. For example, the authors provided suggested readings from open sources to ensure students have easily accessible resources. The authors also provide relevant and thought-provoking topics for discussion at the end of each chapter to encourage readers to synthesis information from the chapter.
Table of Contents
- 1. What is Conservation Biology?
- 2. Introduction to Sub-Saharan Africa
- 3. What is Biodiversity?
- 4. Why Should We Protect Biodiversity?
- 5. The Scramble for Space
- 6. Our Warming World
- 7. Pollution, Overharvesting, Invasive Species, and Disease
- 8. Extinction Is Forever
- 9. Applied Population Biology
- 10. Conserving Ecosystems
- 11. Preventing Extinctions
- 12. Biodiversity and the Law
- 13. The Importance of Protected Areas
- 14. Conservation on Unprotected Lands
- 15. An Agenda for the Future
About the Book
Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa comprehensively explores the challenges and potential solutions to key conservation issues in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Easy to read, this lucid and accessible textbook includes fifteen chapters that cover a full range of conservation topics, including threats to biodiversity, environmental laws, and protected areas management, as well as related topics such as sustainability, poverty, and human-wildlife conflict. This rich resource also includes a background discussion of what conservation biology is, a wide range of theoretical approaches to the subject, and concrete examples of conservation practice in specific African contexts. Strategies are outlined to protect biodiversity whilst promoting economic development in the region.
About the Contributors
John W. Wilson is a conservation biologist interested in solving the dynamic challenges of a changing world. He received his BSc and MSc from Pretoria University, and his PhD from North Carolina State University. He has over 15 years of experience with conservation across Africa. As a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow, he studied interactions between habitat loss and climate change in West Africa. He also spent 13 months on uninhabited Gough Island, a World Heritage Site in the South Atlantic, where he combatted invasive species. Beyond that, he has studied individual organisms, populations, and natural communities across Southern, East, Central, and West Africa. His work has covered pertinent topics such as conservation planning, population monitoring, protected areas management, translocations, ecological restoration, and movement ecology in savannahs, grasslands, forests, wetlands, and agricultural systems. His love for nature also dominates his free time; he has contributed over 50,000 observation records to the citizen science platforms eBird and iNaturalist, which he also helps curate.
Richard B. Primack is a Professor of Biology, specializing in plant ecology, conservation biology, and tropical ecology. He is the author of three widely used conservation biology textbooks; local co-authors have helped to produce 36 translations of these books with local examples. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biological Conservation, and served as President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. His research documents the effects of climate change on plants and animals in the Eastern U.S.A., and is often featured in the popular press.