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Soil Ecology in Northern Forests. A Belowground View of a Changing World. Lukac, M., and D. L. Godbold. 2011. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. 268 pp. $55 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-521-88679-6.

Long neglected by conservation biologists, soil is the basis for much of the life we care about. We have an uneven understanding of the ecology of soils, even in better-known areas like the northern hemisphere, and we know even less about how global change—including nutrient enrichment and temperature alterations—will affect this vital ecosystem.

Degraded Forests in Eastern Africa. Management and Restoration. Bongers, F., and T. Tennigkeit, editors. 2010. Earthscan, London, United Kingdom. 384 pp. $99.95 (hardcover). ISBN 978-1-84407-767-0.

Ecosystem Goods and Services from Plantation Forests. Bauhus, J., P. Van Der Meer, and M. Kanninen, editors. 2010. Earthscan, London, United Kingdom. 240 pp. $84.95 (hardcover). ISBN 978-1-84971-168-5.

Much of Earth's original forest cover has been degraded or converted to plantations. It is time for us to start studying these altered forest ecosystems seriously as locations for conservation and for improving the well-being of many of Earth's poor people.

Constructed Climates. A Primer on Urban Environments. Wilson, W. G. 2011. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 288 pp. $25 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-226-90146-6.

Urban Ecology. Gaston, K. J., editor. 2010. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. 330 pp. $60 (paperback). ISBN 978-0-521-74349-5.

It is well known that there are currently more people living in cities than outside of cities. But conservation professionals have devoted too little attention to the biological diversity that lives in urban settings and how it affects the lives of urban inhabitants. This very different pair of books has much to offer those who think nature is not always somewhere far away, but is in the medians along roads, in abandoned lots, and thriving—and rewarding people—in urban parks.

Listed. Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act. Roman, J. 2011. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 360 pp. $27.95 (hardcover). ISBN 978-0-674-04751-8.

The United States’ Endangered Species Act is one of the most important and contentious pieces of conservation legislation in the world. Writing about the current state of a few of the taxa listed under this legislation, the author builds a picture of the current state of the act and proposes a way of bringing endangered species back into the mainstream of our economic and social lives.