Life Out of Bounds: Bioinvasion in a Borderless World

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1998 - Science - 287 pages
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Bioinvasion - the spread of alien, "exotic" organisms - is gnawing away at ecosystems all over the world, largely unnoticed and unopposed. The continuing increase in travel and trade around the globe is fostering the spread of more and more invaders of almost every conceivable description, from highly flammable weeds to human pathogens and forest diseases. Chris Bright tracks the extent and explains the dangers of bioinvasion - an environmental threat that may now be surpassed only by habitat loss in its potential to irreparably damage our planet. Bright explores the counterintuitive mechanisms of invasion, in which the addition of a non-native species to an area tends to reduce that area's biodiversity. He shows that bioinvasions are not only destroying ecosystems, but also endangering public health, disrupting the cultures of traditional forest and fishing peoples, and costing our economies billions of dollars a year. The current rates of invasion, Bright argues, are no more sustainable over the long term than are current rates of deforestation or greenhouse gas emissions. Yet according to Bright, we already have the knowledge and tools necessary to resist or roll back bioinvasions. He outlines a counter-invasion strategy that stretches from international legal reform to on-the-ground control techniques. And, recognizing that the principal challenge may not be so much technical as cultural, he calls for a higher degree of ecological literacy - an appreciation of the value of native plants and animals, and an ability to "read" landscapes well enough to see the invaders within them.

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User Review  - gregdehler - LibraryThing

Written in the late 1990s when Americans were heady with optimism on the positive benefits of globalism, Chris Bright paints a more pessimistic picture of the biological impact of unprecedented species mobility and the devestating effects of explosive invasive species. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - billsearth - LibraryThing

This book warns of coming problems related to loss of biodiversity due to uncontroled dominence of hardy invasive species. Plenty of factual documentation, 50 pages worth at the end of the book, for the take-over by invasive species that has begun. Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Chris Bright is a research associate at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C.

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