Retzer, V: Book review - Large Herbivore Ecology, Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation, Basic and Applied Ecology, 9(2), 190 (2008)
When I first saw the book I was confused by the title. It was not clear to me how the three topics “large herbivore ecology”, “ecosystem dynamics” and “conservation” mentioned in the title could be related to each other. The title could mean “the ecology and conservation of large herbivores”, but “ecosystem dynamics of larger herbivores” does not make much sense. While the book achieves a lot by exploring the feedback mechanisms between large herbivores, ecosystem dynamics and functioning, it does not deal with the question of how to protect large herbivore populations. Thus, a title such as “Large herbivore ecology as a basis for the conservation of ecosystem dynamics” might have been more appropriate. This discrepancy between title and content may be explained by the book’s history: it is the final product of a workshop on “The impact of large mammalian herbivores on biodiversity, ecosystem structure and function” in May 2002. Possibly, the keyword “conservation” is a tribute to its being published in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London in the series Conservation Biology. The volume meets the expectations raised by the series title only insofar as in-depth knowledge of ecosystem dynamics is a prerequisite for sound conservation management. Additionally, most contributions end by summarizing their results with a special focus on applied conservation practice. However, special chapters dealing with conservation failures and successes are missing.

last modified 2009-05-11