By Bruce A. Stein, Lynn S. Kutner, Visit Amazon's Jonathan S. Adams Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Jonathan S. Adams,

From the plush forests of Appalachia to the frozen tundra of Alaska, and from the tallgrass prairies of the Midwest to the subtropical rainforests of Hawaii, the USA harbors a extraordinary array of ecosystems. those ecosystems in flip maintain an outstanding number of plant and animal existence. For species corresponding to salamanders and freshwater turtles, the U.S. ranks because the worldwide middle of variety. one of the nation's different precise organic positive aspects are California's coast redwoods, the world's tallest bushes, and Nevada's Devils gap pupfish, which survives in one ten-by-seventy-foot wasteland pool, the smallest diversity of any vertebrate animal. helpful history attracts jointly for the 1st time 1 / 4 century of data on U.S. biodiversity built via common background courses from around the nation. This richly illustrated quantity not just records these elements of U.S. biodiversity which are relatively noteworthy, but in addition considers how our species and ecosystems are faring, what's threatening them, and what's had to safeguard the nation's closing common inheritance. principally, priceless historical past is a party of the intense organic variety of the U.S..

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Extra info for Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States

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A conservative guess is roughly 14 million species, only one-eighth of which have been formally named. We now recognize that the earth supports far more species than previously believed, from tremendous numbers of beetles living in the canopy of tropical trees to bacteria inhabiting rocks more than a mile beneath the earth's surface. Individual species, like the pupfishes of the desert Southwest, form threads in the lustrous ecological tapestry of the United States. Further examination reveals a dense weave of thousands of species, many found nowhere else.

The chapter also considers what this geography of impediment means for the emerging scale of conservation at a national level. Species are only part of the biodiversity story, and chapter 7 looks at the diversity, extent, and condition of ecological systems in the United States. Tracing the route of the explorers Lewis and Clark, this chapter considers ecological diversity across the United States from the coarsest scales, such as biomes and ecoregions, to fine-scale vegetation associations. Not even the most complete data on the distribution and status of species and ecological communities in the United States can guide conservation activities without a firm understanding of the nature of the threats to our natural heritage, the subject of chapter 8.

The Fabric of Life: Biodiversity From the Devils Hole pupfish to the delicate spring ecosystems at Ash Meadows to the Mojave Desert, from genes to species to ecosystems to landscapes: Each is part of the fabric of life. Each is a component of biodiversity. But what is biodiversity? Although the term is now common, many people are bewildered by it. Still others use it in an all-encompassing way to refer to any and all nature. Biodiversity is, in essence, the full array of life on Earth. The most tangible manifestations of this concept are the species of plants, animals, and microorganisms that surround us.

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