The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
By David Quammen
Why this book?
There are many books on the subject of conservation and the plight that besets the planet. Most are well-written, well-intentioned, and outline the story. But many cover the same well-trodden path and are full of platitudes and an unrealistic self-righteousness. This one is very different. It tells its story in an original way and offers an approach that is particularly disturbing; it underlines problems that many conservationists simply skirt around.
The first thing to say is that the book is not really about the Dodo at all; the title is just an intriguing and engaging heading! And in any case, so far as we know, the Dodo didn’t have a song – something that the author knows very well. The awful truth that David Quammen illuminates very clearly is that setting aside tracts of land for the purposes of conservation is all very well – in its way. But it ignores a very fundamental problem, a problem that the author lays out very clearly. If anyone wants to understand the nature of the problem they will have to read the book.
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