A Primer for Environmental Literacy


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Frank B. Golley

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This broad-ranging book presents the key concepts of environmental science in an accessible style that can be understood by those who are not natural scientists. It offers a way to improve environmental literacy—the capacity to understand the connections between humans and their environment.

Unique in its breadth and simplicity, the book is also unusual in that it uses a "top-down" approach, starting with a global scale and proceeding to smaller units of organization until it reaches the individual organism. It is divided into four parts. The first introduces three core concepts—the environment, the system, and environmental hierarchies—and applies these ideas to the earth as a system. The second focuses on land and water systems, beginning with the whole earth and ending with the ecotope (small-scale systems in which we work, live, and play). The third section is concerned with populations and individuals. The final section builds up from individuals to the biotic community. The book ends with an overview of human ecology and with general conclusions about the conditions of the biosphere. The book, which includes a reading list for each topic, is ideal for the student or general reader interested in learning more about the environment and how to value it.

Frank B. Golley is Research Professor, Institute of Ecology, at the University of Georgia. Past president of the Ecological Society of America and the International Association for Ecology, he was until recently editor of Landscape Ecology. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including A History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology, published by Yale University Press.

A selection of the Library of Science

"One of the twentieth century`s most prominent American ecologists here opens the door to ecological science for the general reader. A book that is badly needed."—Gerald L. Young, Washington State University

"One of the real problems in today`s compartmentalized university is that most ecology courses are not available or accessible to nonscience students. Golley`s book would be a resource for such students."—Gerald L. Young, Washington State University

"This book presents key concepts of environmental science in a format understandable by non-scientists. . . . Taken together, the concepts provide an integrated introduction to environmental literacy."—CAB Abstracts

"Clear, concise overview of ecological concepts for general readers, by distinguished ecosystem ecologist Golley . . . Golley . . . discuss[es] recent research in an easily understandable way."—J. B. Hagen, Choice

A Primer for Environmental Literacy fills a niche for those wanting to gain a rudimentary grounding in the scientific approach to environmental understanding. This concise yet detailed work helps readers explore the complexity of the natural world, see how the built environment interacts with the natural one, and gain an appreciation for the concept of knowledge uncertainty. . . . A solid introduction to environmental science with compelling ecological insight.”—Diane Kine, Isle

"Highly recommended for academic and larger public library ecology collections."—Susan Maret, Univ. of Colorado Lib., Denver, Library Journal

“Golley . . . offers sophisticated exegeses of ecosystems, zones, the hydrosphere, watersheds, hierarchies of control, competition, population distribution and the current state of the biosphere.”—Publishers Weekly

ISBN: 9780300070491
Publication Date: August 11, 1998
254 pages, 6 x 9
A History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology

More than the Sum of the Parts

Frank B. Golley

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