Book Review of A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There By Aldo Leopold
Biodiversity as one significant element of ecosystem is closely related to ecological development and of high value to human. In recent years, people are increasing concerned about the serious condition of other creature, but they still put too much emphasis on economic value that they ignore the understanding of ecological system and conservation of biodiversity. However, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac provides foreseeable insight into the influence of human activities on wildlife and proposes the land ethic to call on people to respect other creature and establish a sustainable environment. This book review intend to discuss and evaluate the book critically to find its existing values and limitations.
The first part of the book mainly describes attractive natural landscapes and wildlife in Sand County and its changes within twelve months. Author attempts to remind public of the impressive memory for wildlife when society paid most of attention on economic development and industrial process, while nature is gradually segregated from human lives. It is also revealed by Barton et al. (2003) that declining species in rural and urban areas result in the segregation of human beings and wildlife. Besides, species richness is observed to decrease with the shortening distance from city core (McKinney, 2002). Furthermore, the book also indicates fact that human are able to gain benefits from biodiversity not only by developing its economic value which is physical, but also entertainment in mental aspects (187). This perspective is intelligent to discover the potential value of various wildlife, because biodiversity is significant to the process of ecosystem due to valuable species and genetic resources, and it is also of high value by its ecological services, which contain esthetic and recreation except from economic values (Alho, 2008). Barton et al. (2003) also demonstrate the communication between nature and human is positive, and people can be healthier by interacting with natural environment. The book provide fascinating description of wildlife and natural landscape, but it is merely author’s personal experience, while those people who live in urban permanently have no clear imagine about that. Additionally, Leopold’s attitude towards the contradiction of industrial development and wildlife is negative by predicting that it is irreversible that human development will be harmful to nature. However, human can benefit the ecosystem and themselves by considering ecological issues in their development strategy (Barton et al., 2003).
The author primarily emphasize the importance of conservation for biodiversity in the second part, which is based on his observation of the North American wildness. One example given in the book is the intervention of human by hunting wolves to protect deer, which finally brought unpredictable negative influence on mountain (130). Leopold also shows that existing food chains among different species generate the pyramid which helps to maintain the stability of ecosystem (215). The inappropriate approach to protect deer shows the lack of understanding to the relationship of various species, which may derive from the unreasonable measurement for biodiversity value. It is demonstrated that contemporary conservation for wildlife is not react to environmental feedback, and it means the failure of measuring the natural cost because of market mechanism, which could not recognize natural benefits except economic values (Folke et al., 1996). Another book also implies that economic valuation techniques is insufficient to value the potential values and ecological services of biodiversity, and people are not aware of the benefits created by ecosystem because ecological services produced by wildlife are not traded in the market, so they are not willing to take responsibility for protection of wildlife as much as...
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