LIBRARY LETTERS


GOING, GOING, GONE?

Heaney, L.R. & Regalado, J.C., Jr. (1998) Vanishing Treasures of the Philippine Rain Forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, U.S.A. viii +88 pp, figs, tables, illustrations, colour photos. Paperback: Price ú19.25. ISBN 0 914 86819 5.

1998 was the centennial year of the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain. Published to coincide with this, and to exemplify The Field Museum of Chicago's commitment to cultural understanding, this volume gives a highly readable introduction to the natural history of the Philippine rain forest, the biogeography of the islands, and the further ecological and socio-economic crisis facing the country should deforestation continue.

The book is a large format, introductory text that is lavishly decorated with illustrations and often stunning colour photographs. Through comparisons to other tropical areas, the authors are highly persuasive in arguing that not only is the flora and fauna of the Philippine's remarkably diverse and endemic, but that it is also disproportionately threatened. Illustrating uniqueness, they say that about 510 species of land-living mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians exist only in the Philippines. They compare this to Brazil which, although 28 times larger, has only about two thirds more endemic species within these taxa. Of the Philippine's lizards, 99 of the 125 species are endemic, with at least 10 being newly recorded within the last 5 years. As they say, however, the irony is that ‘biodiversity is often discovered within earshot of chain saws’.

The book is divided into five main sections. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to biodiversity and ecosystem threats. Chapter 2 covers the biogeography and natural habitat types of the Philippines. Here we learn that the distribution of species across the islands is principally governed by both the rise and fall of sea level through geological time and by which islands are oceanic in origin and which are continental – all sound island biogeographic principles. Indeed, the book provides a nice balance of descriptive natural history and succinct explanation of pattern and process.

Chapter 3, the longest chapter, gives us page-long descriptions of the plants and animals that are the ‘vanishing treasures’ of the book's title. And from the many photographs, the informative and entertaining species descriptions, and the warnings about their often perilous status, it is clear that this is precisely what they are –vanishing treasures. Each page deals with either an individual plant, animal, or specific group. Plants and animals are fairly equally represented, although bat and bird lovers perhaps get the best deal. The concise and entertaining descriptions follow a more or less standard format with physical descriptions, behaviour, habitat preference, population status, economic value, and conservation measures all commonly being dealt with. Many of the species described are fascinating on one or other of these counts. For example, frogs of the genus Platymantis emerge straight from the egg as miniature adults, with no tadpole stage, and a certain species of fruit bat is pregnant for 50 weeks of every year. Even the species names seem entertaining, such as the flame-templed babbler, the Philippine frogmouth, the Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat, or the elephant-foot yam that is aptly known locally as pungapong (it attracts pollinators by smelling pungently of rotting flesh).

Chapter 4 deals with the causes and consequences of deforestation, including an historical account of deforestation which reveals that the Philippines has probably undergone the highest rate of deforestation of all tropical areas (during the 20th Century forest cover decreased from 70 to 7% of land surface area). The negative consequences of deforestation are well documented, with the Philippines illustrating most, if not all, of them. At times the book is sombre reading, made palatable by its lively text and visual presentation.

The last chapter looks at the prospects for rain forest recovery and recognizes that while progress has been made in recent years (and especially in the post-Marcos period), poverty, individual greed and socio-economic inequality remain the root cause of habitat loss and environmental degradation. The book provides an upbeat and optimistic ending that is nevertheless tempered by acknowledging that much needs to be done, and that not much time remains.

My reservations are minor. The first is that technical terms are perhaps too carefully avoided. The most fundamental of these is island biogeography, a term that is only once mentioned and yet is invoked and alluded to often. The principles of island biogeography underpin much of what we know about the distribution of the islands’ wildlife and, moreover, will often be of relevance to current conservation policies. Presumably, such words were largely avoided to increase the palatability for the general public. While aiming to increase readership is no bad thing, gently widening the uninitiated readers’ vocabulary might also enable them to venture on to other less accessible literature. My second reservation is that invertebrates are barely mentioned. Of course, to do justice to the invertebrate life would require another book, if not several, but a specific example – or a general statement about comparative size of biotas, or their roles in rain forest ecology – might have reminded us that not just the large and/or cute are threatened or valuable.

If you yourself want to find out more about the Philippine's rain forests, know of anyone who would like an introductory text to the rain forest ‘treasure trove’, or just want to savour a photographic treat, then this is an enjoyable, informative and affordable book. As the authors say, ‘Extinct species . . . are notoriously poor at providing any benefits’, I could echo that unread books are equally bad at educating and inspiring.

Stephen Jones

School of Geography, Oxford University

Oxford, U.K.

A SUITE OF TEMPERATE FORESTS AND SAVANNAS

Kirby, K.J. & Watkins, C. (1998) The Ecological History of European Forests. CAB International, Wallingford, U.K. xv+373 pp, tables, figs, photos, index. Hardback: Price ú49.95, ISBN: 0 851 99256 0.

Twenty years after Oliver Rackham produced Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape (1976), Charles Watkins organized at Nottingham a symposium on the history and ecology of European forests, and this is one of the resulting volumes. It brings together 26 contributions with a particularly wide coverage, principally from western temperate Europe. Seven contributions relate to Britain; 11 other countries are represented, including Hungary, Poland and Turkey; but France is a notable omission. There was even a contribution from West Africa and a paper that brought in material from Tanzania.

Most contributions were case studies of particular districts. From England, these included Rockingham Forest (Best), north-east Yorkshire (Gulliver), Coniston in Cumbria (Barker) and Bernwood Forest (Thomas). From mainland Europe we have studies from Zealand, Denmark (Petersen), Flanders (Tack and Hermy), Brandenburg (Wulf), north-east Switzerland (Bürgi), southern Spain (Marañón and Ojeda) and Hungary (Molnár), as well as three from Italy and four from the Netherlands. Contributions of wider significance come in the form of a well-illustrated account of wood meadows in Europe (Hæggström); the use of fine spatial resolution pollen analysis with examples from Ireland, Tasmania and Bialowieza Forest (Mitchell); and two papers which apply the information accumulated by the Ancient Woodland Inventory in England to conservation issues (Bailey et al., Kirby et al.). The highlight of the original conference, Rackham's survey by slides of the various combinations of tress and pasturage, has been transformed into a typically lucid, wide-ranging and individualistic account of ‘savanna in England’.

The editors contribute an introductory essay which does much to set each contribution in context. They suggest that historical ecology in general has largely developed round studies of woodlands, which is probably correct. Certainly, woodlands leave a stronger trail than other habitats in old documents and maps, and the trees themselves often date from earlier centuries and contain a detailed historical record in their own form. Furthermore, historical factors have formed a basis for woodland conservation in Britain and elsewhere in north-west Europe, and have become central to ecological survey and forestry policy.

The editors suggest that this has happened in the last 30 years, and certainly this period has seen a substantial advance in the application of historical and archeological knowledge to the interpretation of species and community patterns and characteristics. Much the same has happened in north America, but more recently: when I worked at Harvard Forest in 1989–1990, historical studies in the USA were a novelty, but now they are burgeoning, and interpretation is in many ways much easier than in Europe. Some British pioneers started more that 30 years ago: Steven and Carlisle's 1959 account of The Native Pinewoods of Scotland has a strong historical element, and in 1962 I well remember Colin Tubbs showing me ecological features in the New Forest that he could link to specific archaeological and documentary records. The 40 or so meetings of the Historical Ecology Discussion Group, which we organized at Monks Wood from 1969 onwards, also gave a considerable boost, but these are not mentioned. I was surprised also to see no mention of the 19th Century appreciation of the historical differences between different types of woodland in Britain. As Charles Watkins himself discovered, some early 19th century forestry writers understood ‘ancient woodland’ as we now understand it, and the Ancient and Ornamental woods designated by the 1877 New Forest Act remind us of the importance of historical factors in early forest conservation.

Perhaps the most significant theme is the interrelationships between woodland and farmland. Generations of cartographers have depicted sharp distinctions, but in wood pastures, wood meadows, hedge trees and in many other ways, trees, woods and farmland work together. The various papers bring out the local variation in these relationships, and some touch on the notion that wood-pasture (or ‘savanna’) was a component of original-natural forests. As far as the temperate deciduous forests are concerned, I believe such structures were never more than local, and this appears to be Rackham's conclusion, too. Further support comes from Mitchell's Bialowieza Forest pollen diagram, which shows that herb pollen is about 12% of total pollen, far more that the norm over the last 1500 years, yet the natural Bialowieza reserve is far from being a wood-pasture. The editors suggest that Scotland may provide the next growth point in ecological-historical studies of woodland, and if so I predict that prolonged and widespread wood-pasturage at the oceanic margins of Europe will figure prominently.

This volume is generally well-edited and presented, though diagrams shaded by computer in gradations of grey are hard to interpret, and I have my doubts about Fig. 25.1, which seems to show that Bedfordshire and Greater Manchester have a far greater cover of ancient woodland than Kent, West Sussex and the New Forest. Most contributions are substantial. Collectively, they have been brought together well by the Introduction. Indeed this book goes some way to dispel my doubts about symposium volumes: the published papers seem far more substantial than the topics that flashed hurriedly before us in Nottingham.

George Peterken

Lydney, UK

REFERENCES

Rackham, O (1976) Trees and Woodlands in the British Landscape. Dent, London.

Steven, H.M. & Carlisle, A. (1959) The Native Pinewoods of Scotland. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.

A TRULY PRACTICAL AND ALTRUISTIC TEXT ON CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

Gibbs, J.P., Hunter, M.L., Jr. & Sterling, E.J. (1998) Problem-Solving in Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management: Exercises for Class, Field, and Laboratory.Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, U.K. 215 pp, figs, tables, illustrations. Paperback: Price ú17.95. ISBN 0 632 04372 5.

One of the oldest criticisms levelled at many academic ecologists and biogeographers and their teaching is that they sit in their ivory towers and pontificate on the state of the environment and the impact of human activity on ecosystems and communities but do remarkably little in practice to help with biological conservation on the ground. This text by Gibbs et al. represents one the best attempts that I have seen so far to answer this criticism. Problem-solving is exactly what this book sets out to do. It comprises a set of 27 practical problem-solving exercises for students taking courses in biological conservation, grouped into five sections entitled Introduction, Populations, Species, Ecosystems and Policy. Examples from each of these include: Regional biodiversity: exploring species and ecosystems in your own backyard; Habitat loss and fragmentation: ecological traps and population persistence; Taxonomy and conservation: an analysis of beetle communities; Designing a zoo: ex-situ centres for conservation, research and conservation; Gap analysis: using GIS to identify priority areas for protection; Island biogeography: how park size and isolation affect the number of species protected; Land use planning: working with your local government; Adversarial proceedings: conservation issues in an administrative court hearing.

The level of the exercises is suitable for second and third year biogeography, biology, ecology and environmental science students and a considerable amount of inventiveness has gone into their construction. Particularly impressive is the use of Internet resources in many exercises and there is an accompanying web site: http://research.amnh. org/biodiversity/centre/solving.htm/ which contains relevant extra information to enable each of the exercises to succeed. The possibility thus exists for the authors to improve, update and develop the exercises independently of the book itself. There is also a very useful accompanying instructor's manual for lecturers and teachers. I tested out both the book web site and also a number of the other web data sources that are used and found no problems in either access or the downloading of data and computer programs. As one example, the exercise on Gap Analysis: using GIS to identify priority areas for conservation is based on the educational GIS program OSUMAP, available free from the web site of Ohio State University, together with various data sets. This package and one data set are then used to predict occurrences of critical species within high-elevation deciduous forest within a local area around Licking County in Ohio and then this information is used in decision-making on the design of a local nature reserve system. I had no problems running the exercise and a series of thought-provoking questions are given at the end, encouraging students not just to evaluate the exercise in terms of the local conservation issues but also the application of GIS that they have just employed. All other exercises are similarly structured, albeit on the many different themes. The exercises have clearly been thoroughly tested and the book has developed from courses that have already been taught for some years at the various universities and colleges of the authors.

If I have one criticism of the book, it is of the fieldwork element of the practical exercises. Overall, the class and laboratory exercises are superb and show considerable originality and initiative. However, the field-based elements remain somewhat elementary and limited. Of the 27 exercises, only eight directly involve biological/ecological fieldwork methods (two others are based on questionnaires) and of those only a couple use biological/ecological field methods in any depth. Even here, the one substantial exercise, entitled Ecological Surveys: the basis for natural area management, attempts to introduce relevant ecological survey methods for vegetation (including woodlands), birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, benthic invertebrates and butterflies in just 20 pages! I believe that this whole section for the book could have profitably been expanded to include a much wider range of conservation issues, while at the same time introducing further, more sophisticated survey techniques. I would also express concern over the lack of clear statements on fieldwork safety issues both generally and in some of the fieldwork chapters, for example, the exercise on Edge effects: designing a nest predation experiment, which involves setting out eggs or quail eggs as bait to study predation across a habitat edge, needs statements on care in handling bait materials.

However, I would not wish to make too much of these criticisms and given the nature and structure of the book, I am sure that they could be rectified very rapidly in future edits to the web site material or in an expanded second edition. Inevitably, it has a predominantly American emphasis and I would welcome some more examples from elsewhere (dare I even say Europe?!), so that the exercises would mean even more to my students over here in Britain. Nevertheless, overall, this is a very successful and innovative text, which is full of challenging ideas. It is very reasonably priced, and I note from the preface that the authors state that all royalties from the book will go to the assistance of grass-roots conservation in Ecuador. Not many authors are as altruistic as that!!

Martin Kent

Department of Geographical Sciences

University of Plymouth

Plymouth, U.K.

HOW TREES MAY RESPOND

Jarvis, P.G. (ed.) (1998) European Forests and Global Change: the Likely Impacts of Rising CO2 and Temperature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. xii+380 pp, tables, figs, photos. Hardback: Price ú60.00. ISBN 0 521 58478 7.

It is rare for a consortium of 13 research groups in nine countries, who have worked together on a common theme, to produce such a coherent account of their findings. When it occurs, it has to be a tribute especially to the leader who, in this case, is also the editor of the book. Paul Jarvis and his co-workers have produced a well-structured account of work funded by the European Union between 1991 and 1995 on the effects of elevated CO2and temperature on the growth and functioning of European trees.

The first chapter describes some of the facilities that were used, including open-top chambers, open-sided chambers, controlled-environment chambers, whole-tree chambers, microcosms and branch bags. Chapters 2–5 focus on the primary physiological processes affected by elevated CO2 and temperature, particularly photosynthesis, respiration, phenology and growth. Chapters 6–8 focus on interactions between elevated CO2 and the availability of water, supply of nutrients and temperature. Chapter 9 describes the use of microcosms to investigate the responses of complete, small-scale model ecosystems and chapter 10 gives examples of the application of system-scale models at leaf, stand and regional scales to predict future impacts of elevated CO2 and temperature. Finally, Bernard Saugier provides a thoughtful summary and identifies priorities for future research.

In order to write each chapter, lead authors had to assimilate information from several groups on their given topic (e.g. photosynthesis, phenology or interactions with nutrient supply). This was evidently not an easy task because, predictably, the results of different experiments were very variable – as indeed they are in the wider literature. The approach taken in most chapters was to define the questions being asked, to describe the findings in relation to the literature and then to draw some general conclusions. In most cases, this formula worked well, although the conclusions are not always imaginative. Some conclusions offer a real synthesis, while others are a re-statement of the variable results without thoughtful insight or speculation on why the results were different for different species and in different growth conditions.

This book, and the many hundreds of papers that have now been published on experimental effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on plants, tells us the sort of responses that can be observed and indicate how trees may respond. But they cannot tell us the real-world responses of European or any other forests. Most experiments are conducted on individual plants, every experiment has conditions that are unique and none can possibly reproduce the long-term ecosystem processes that occur in sod-plant systems in response to gradually increasing CO2 and variable weather over decades. To answer the big questions, we have to develop whole ecosystem models in which all the relevant processes governing carbon, nutrient and water cycling are represented. And to do this, we need to know the ground rules governing the processes. These rules are becoming clear for photosynthesis, for instance, but they are not clear for almost all the processes which determine the fate of assimilated carbon, much less of nutrients.

Sometimes, thoughtful interpretation of whole-plant experiments can provide insight into processes – and this book provides some examples. But experiments on the ‘effects of x on y’ are of limited value. Even the most detailed description of the effect of elevated CO2 on the distribution of mass in a plant will not tell us what governs carbon allocation or how to model it, except in the most empirical way. This book recognizes that modelling is the way forward, but we shall need considerably more fundamental work on individual plant and soil processes, preferably determined by model requirements, before we can predict the future of European forests with any certainty.

Melvin Cannell

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology

Edinburgh, U.K.

IDEAS AND ISSUES AT A PRICE

Alexander, D.E. & Fairbridge, R.W. (eds) (1999) Encyclopaedia of Environmental Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers. xxvii +768 pp, figs, tables, photos, cited author and subject indices. Hardback: Price ú280.00. ISBN 0 412 74050 8.

This magnum opus is a single volume compendium of articles on environmental science that covers physical sciences, life sciences and some social science. It comprises definitions, theories and debates and is written by a galaxy of biologists, ecologists, geo- graphers, political scientists, soil scientists, hydro- logists and climatologists. In total, 228 authors from 25 different countries have contributed to this volume and the editors are to be congratulated simply for managing to produce such a wide-ranging and multiauthored work. The mind boggles at the sheer magnitude of the organization required.

For ease of use, the book comes with a contents list of articles as well as an index, although the articles themselves do not appear in the index. This is surprising and should, I think, be rectified in any reprint simply with a bold page number entry for articles. All articles are referenced and cross-referenced and many are illustrated with tables, diagrams and black & white photographs. Unfortunately, some of the photographs are of variable quality – several are too dark – and a number of the diagrams should have been redrawn. These drawbacks are regrettable, as anyone thinking of spending ú280 on a book should expect a top-quality product.

However, most of the text is first class, providing thorough and up-to-date overviews and analyses of the topics covered. These incorporate such basics as individual biomes and ecosystem types including deserts, taiga and tundra (although savanna is included within grassland while steppe gets a separate entry), coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands. Key institutions, conferences and conventions warrant entries, although some of the omissions might raise the occasional eyebrow. Hence UNEP, UNCED and the Ramsar Convention are here, but there are no separate entries for IUCN or the Climate Change Convention.

Articles also cover key figures in the development of ideas on the natural environment. These stretch back to thinkers in the ancient world and include Aristotle, Gilbert White, George Perkins Marsh, Charles Darwin, Alexander Von Humboldt and Rachel Carson. It is always easy for reviewers to highlight exclusions, and I was surprised to find no mention of Gregor Mendel. Conversely, some other inclusions are thought provoking for this reviewer. These include such figures as Anaxagoras and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Concepts in environmental science are generally well covered (e.g. tragedy of the commons, critical load, precautionary principle, carrying capacity, vegetational succession and climax), as well as process phenomena like ENSO, landslides and soil erosion. Some techniques and tools also warrant entries, such as carbon-14 dating and remote sensing. Most of the emphasis throughout is on human interaction with the environment; hence the Holocene epoch gets an entry but neither the Pleistocene nor Quaternary do, though ice ages have an article to themselves. Perhaps to be expected, articles on specific places are few and far between. The Sahel is the exception, for some reason. Many would also make room for similar pieces on other critical environmental regions like Amazonia, the Aral Sea Basin and the Basin of Mexico. Other idiosyncrasies include an entry for marsh gas (methane) rather than methane (marsh gas). The article on groundwater is less than a page long and deserves much more.

Fields of study get entries too. Hence, for example, dendrochronology, oceanography, ornithology and environmental science are covered. Sadly for my discipline, geography does not apparently warrant an entry to itself, although some of its subsets do (e.g. medical geography, geomorphology, biogeography and a separate entry for island biogeography that concentrates too much on MacArthur & Wilson's work). I guess this is as much a geographers’ problem as any. Our discipline should be at the forefront of environmental science but the very emergence of an identifiable thing called environmental science in itself represents a lost opportunity for geography, despite the involvement of many geographers in relevant research.

This weighty tome is a welcome addition to the rapidly expanding number of options for a single volume environmental reference book. Its size allows it to delve into much greater detail than the much smaller environment dictionaries (e.g. Allaby, 1988; Gilpin, 1996), although it has far fewer entries than the true dictionaries. This is one of Kluwer's Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Its sister volumes cover individual subsets of environmental science in greater detail. Hence, floods and flood mitigation get a surprisingly measly two pages in this book, but nine separate entries in the Encyclopedia of Hydrology and Water Resources (Herschy & Fairbridge, 1998). Bizarrely, however, the meteorology entry in the Encyclopedia of Hydrology and Water Resources is just six lines long, but warrants two pages in this volume. Likewise, microclimate gets a page in this volume, but doesn’t get an entry at all in Herschy & Fairbridge.

Perhaps this book's closest competitor is The Encyclopedia of Ecology and Environmental Management edited by Calow (1998). As its title makes clear, Calow's volume has an ecological bent, but it also differs in comprising a greater number of entries, many of just a paragraph or two, interspersed among its lengthier articles. This makes the Calow book closer to what might be called an encyclopaedic dictionary. It has far fewer illustrations than Alexander & Fairbridge too. If I had to choose between Calow on the one hand and Alexander & Fairbridge on the other, it would be a difficult choice. Despite Calow's larger number of entries, it says virtually nothing about soil erosion and conservation, for example, which is odd. Alexander & Fairbridge offer appropriately lengthy articles on both topics. Interesting too that Calow finds no room for Gregor Mendel either, and gives groundwater as short shrift as Herschy & Fairbridge.

If my hand was forced, probably by financial considerations, I would have to opt for the Calow offering. At ú150 it is just over half the price of Herschy & Fairbridge, and I prefer its wider remit. In many ways, Herschy & Fairbridge is closer to a textbook of issues and ideas than an encyclopedia, and there are many textbooks with which it could be compared.

Nick Middleton

School of Geography, University of Oxford

Oxford, U.K.

REFERENCES

Allaby, M. (1988) Macmillan Dictionary of the Environment. Macmillan, London.

Calow, P. (ed) (1998) The Encyclopedia of Ecology and Environmental Management. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Gilpin, A. (1996) Dictionary of Environment and Sustainable Development. Wiley, Chichester.

Herschy, R.W. & Fairbridge, R.W. (eds) (1998) Encyclopedia of Hydrology and Water Resources. Kluwer, Dordrecht.

A VIEW ON BIOCHEMICAL CYCLES OF C-N-P-S IN ASIA

Galloway, J.N. & Melillo, J.M. (eds) (1998) Asian Change in the Context of Global Climate Change: Impact of Natural and Anthropogenic Changes in Asia on Global Biogeochemical Cycles. International Geosphere-Biosphere Publication Series, 3. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. xiv+363 pp, tables, figs, index. Paperback: Price ú80.00. ISBN 0 521 62343 X.

Global change has become a world-wide issue in which anthropogenic disturbances play a major role. Such human activities include fossil fuel combustion, land use and land use change (such as deforestation), wetland drainage, water and fertilizer management in dryland and rice ecosystems, industrial development, and urban expansion. In the past 42 years, total global CO2 emissions increased at an annual rate of 6.5%. Of the total global emissions, North America accounted for one-fourth, which was higher than all the Asian countries. Undoubtedly, these industrial countries are responsible for the history of recent climate change (in so far as it is anthropogenically forced) and the impacts caused by them. However, greenhouse emissions in Asia increased rapidly from the mid-1970s, and have now reached a relatively stable state with interannual oscillation. For 1990, Asia contributed 25% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (the proportion was 18% if Japan, Australia and New Zealand are excluded) and 50% of biogenic emissions. Because of rapid economic development and increasing population, the role of Asia in global change is unlikely to be negligible. In addition, Asia is one of the priority regions in global change studies. The unique Asian monsoon created by the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Tibetan Plateau, is a very important factor in global hydrological and biochemical processes of the biosphere.

A major theme of the book is the description of the changes of the C-N-P-S biogeochemical cycle within Asia in terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and the cycling among land-ocean-atmosphere systems. While the content of chapters is detailed and synoptic, the details of C-N-P-S cycling (a major biosphere system) are still not persuasive or well synthesized. What is needed now is an integrated model.

The book sets global processes in an Asian context, with chapters on: 1) The palaeoclimate change of monsoonal China as shown by historic data, tree ring data and ice core records, palaeoclimatic events, Chinese loess and sensitivity of the Tibetan Plateau to global climate change; 2) The ‘land-ocean-atmosphere’ biogeochemical cycle of C-N-S-P as caused by fossil fuel burning, land use and other anthropogenic forcing, and the analysis of the history and predictions of this cycle; 3) The type and magnitude of biomass burning in Asia and the globe, and assessment of its impact on the atmospheric chemistry of C, H, N and S, as well as its economic and ecological impacts. This chapter also covers the use of satellite data in analysing the seasonal distribution of biomass burning in Asia; 4) Simulation of C and N cycles (including soil carbon, biomass carbon and nitrogen mineralization) under changes from arid or semiarid conditions to those favouring humid tropical grassland caused by future climate change. The results of the simulation model CENTURY are presented, which show that the Mongolia Plateau grassland is sensitive to climate change because of altered water regimes; 5) The relationship between plant nutrition, carbon assimilation and growth, and the exchange of gases between vegetation and the atmosphere; as well as the processes which lead to CO2 losses and long-term carbon immobilization; 6) The terrestrial carbon cycle of Asian tropical forest conversion in relation to the global C budget as influenced by the interannual variation of deforestation rate. This approach is shown to reduce the uncertainty associated with IGBP and IHDP estimates for tropical Asia; 7) Methane emission patterns (seasonal and diurnal) from rice fields, and factors controlling CH4 emissions and abatement strategies; 8) The impacts of anthropogenic change on the terrestrial hydrologic cycle, drainage basins and river systems. These impacts include erosion, excess siltation of streambeds, vulnerability to additional flooding, enhanced sediment delivery and losses in storage capacity and hydroelectric potential, and – using China as a case study – nutrification of river water; 9) The impact of sediment and nutrient input from Chinese terrestrial systems on sediment discharge, coastal erosion and coastal marine environments. These inputs are, for example, caused by cultivation, deforestation and dam construction; 10) The biochemical cycle of C-N-P-Si in the ocean, including their formation, quantity and cycling, and the impact of human activities on these processes (the example given is, of course, of Asia); 11) The impacts of climate change on Asia (such as alteration of the monsoon climate, water resource, and agriculture), the driving factors for these changes within Asia, and the advancement of the IGBP plan within the context of Asia.

In summary, the book is a very good publication detailing regional changes within the context of a global change background. It provides a lot of useful information and data. There are few typographical errors and only occasionally are views expressed that as yet lack reliable supporting evidence. The new findings presented here are a valuable contribution to the IGBP and climate change literature in general. We greatly appreciate the authors’ contribution to the study of global change.

Guo Liping & Lin Erda

Agrometeorology Institute,

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Beijing, China

A LANDMARK IN THE STUDY OF SPATIAL ORIENTATION

Healy, S. (ed) (1998) Spatial Representation in Animals. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K. x+188 pp, tables, figs, photos, index. Paperback: Price ú22.25. ISBN 0 198 50006 8. Hardback: Price ú45.00. ISBN 0 498 50007 6.

It can be hard to find one's way around the burgeoning literature on spatial orientation in animals, not least because this field's new momentum is being powered largely by a new breed of cross-disciplinary research. To appreciate the excitement you will need an understanding of neurophysiology, modern com- parative methods in evolutionary biology, and the techniques of learning psychology. Beyond you? Not with Healy's book Spatial Representation in Animals to guide you.

Healy has brought together contributions from 16 of the world's top researchers in the field of animal orientation who, in eight concise and cleverly illustrated chapters, explain how their otherwise disparate specialist approaches each contributes to our understanding of how animals represent space (with one minor hiccup). Healy cannot have given the authors an easy remit because, in addition to providing a review of each research area, its problems, background, techniques and recent progress, each chapter brims with ideas for further research, positively inviting the reader to get involved, to go out and solve the mysteries themselves. It is invigorating stuff.

Chapter 1 (Cheng and Spetch) provides a good starting point for a book of this sort as it takes the reader carefully but simply through one of the fundamentals of spatial representation: the mechanisms of landmark use in mammals and birds. Similarly sensibly limited in its coverage, Chapter 2 (Collett and Zeil) picks out the key features of what we know about the presentation of places and landmarks in arthropods. Perhaps we really do understand rather well how hymenoptera map and travel, or perhaps Collet and Zeil are just very good at presenting a coherent picture consistent with what we know. Either way this is a charming story illustrated at key points by delightful experiments. Etienne et al.'s chapter on dead reckoning follows, and, though less easy, is still an excellent exposé of how animals from ants to humans navigate using egocentric information. Again the use of key experimental examples enriches this review of a neglected field.‘The homing pigeon . . . is one of the icons in spatial navigation’, writes Healy, and it is true that it has taught us much about the sensory inputs involved in the maps and compasses of navigating birds. Yet the literature on pigeon homing has often been a sparring ground for those with opposing opinions, and the need to tread carefully cannot have been lost on Bingman in his diplomatic chapter. The debate over whether pigeons have olfactory maps is summed up comfortingly quietly, but then, as Bingman suggests, the overwhelming weight of evidence is more or less weakly consistent with this at first sight most unlikely hypothesis. Bingman then shows us how hard it can be to equate ethological map concepts (such as bicoordinate grid maps) with their neurophysiological and psychological counterparts (such as the cognitive map), but the attempt is both laudable and useful. Helped again by excellent diagrams, the chapter crystallises the representational dilemmas faced by pigeons at the hands of researchers: at the same time a neat summary for experts and a source of fascination for newcomers.

By delving into detailed studies, Braithwaite unveils the patchy nature of our understanding of spatial representation in fish. But far from proving frustrating, the result is a tantalizing picture of a field beckoning young researchers of Braithwaite's calibre with a host of unsolved, even untouched problems. Save, Poucet and Thinus-Blanc's chapter on landmark use and the cognitive map in the rat shows, by contrast, just how much more is known about the detailed processes of spatial representation in this organism. Nevertheless, the authors’ aim to highlight spatial processing in the rat as an opportunist system is achieved effectively, and this novel angle provides much in the way of fresh ideas for future research. Sherry and Healy's final chapter on the neural mechanisms of spatial representation is a most ambitious piece, which in large measure succeeds in integrating the ethology, psychology and neurophysiology of orientation. It is a most impressive multi-disciplinary attack on (mainly avian) spatial memory, with plenty of implicit directions for future research.

The only hiccup in this otherwise superb and ambitious book is Berthold's chapter on long-distance avian migration. Berthold discusses the fascinating factors controlling migration, including the timing, directional preference and maintenance of migratory activity. But there is little mention of sensory processes, and no discussion of possible landmark use during secondary and return migrations. There is no doubt that Berthold's grand theory of migratory origins (centring on the genetic pool of flexibility inherent in partial migrants) is interesting, but this crowded review seems out-of-place here (and much of it can be read elsewhere anyway). But overall, Healy's book is a landmark in the emerging integrated field of spatial representation. It is a useful and timely expert review of so many disparate strands of research, a lively inspiration to new graduates, and a valuable addition to undergraduate reading lists.

Alex Banks & Tim Guilford

Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Oxford, U.K.

Ancillary