Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Five-Volume Set


  • Simon Levin, Princeton University, New Jersey, U.S.A.

First used in 1980, "biodiversity" often describes the abundance, variety, and genetic constitution of native animals and plants, and has been linked with politics and environmental technology. Although the 1986 National forum on biodiversity brought issues of biodiversity to the fore, the inescapable need to know more about the diversity of life on Earth continues to remain unmet.
In recent years, biodiversity has influenced important scientific considerations, international agreements, conventions, conservation initiatives, political debates, and socio-economic implications. Knowledge derived from the study of biodiversity will affect the quality of life enjoyed in the future by influencing decision-making processes and aiding new discoveries.
The science of biodiversity has become the science of our future. Our awareness of the loss of biodiversity has brought a long overdue appreciation of the magnitude of our loss and a determination to develop the tools to protect our future. The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (2e) has been updated to provide a timely study of the dimensions of diversity. It examens the services biodiversity provides, and the measures in which to protect it. Major themes of the work include the evolution of biodiversity, systems for classifying and defining biodiversity, ecological patterns and theories of biodiversity, and an assessment of contemporary patterns and trends in biodiversity.
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University, research, and special libraries; non-profit groups working in biodiversity-related areas; industries with an interest in preserving and utilizing natural resources, from timber and chemical corporations to insurance companies; fish and wildlife exploiters, protectors, and regulators; zoos, zoological societies, and natural history museums.


Book information

  • Published: October 2000
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-226865-6


"Compiled by a virtual who's who in the field of conservation science, the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity highlights the critical importance of biodiversity and illustrates why all thinking people should care about stemming the loss of our natural heritage."
John Sawhill, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

"This encyclopedia is a worthwhile investment for anyone in need of a scholarly reference source devoted to biodiversity and related preservation issues. There are no other current encyclopedias that provide comparable in-depth coverage of this increasingly important topic. The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity is particularly recommended for special and academic libraries. For a limited period, access to an upcoming online version is included in the purchase of the print set.
American Library Association
"Five volumes contain 313 signed articles by leading international authors. From the preface: "The entries...have been arranged alphabetically, but the coverage is designed functionally. At the core is a comprehensive survey of biodiversity, across taxonomic groups and ecological regions. The emergence of biodiversity is then placed in an evolutionary perspective, as background for an understanding of current trends. Finally, a review is given of institutions and other mechanisms that exist and are needed for the preservation of biodiversity...." The "contents by subject" listing groups entries according to theme, among them: agriculture, conservation and restoration, economics, environmental conditions and effects, evolution, extinctions, genetics, geographic and global issues, habitats and ecosystems, human effects and interventions, and population issues. Each entry is carefully constructed, with an outline, a glossary, a summary, cross references, and a bibliography accompanying the main body of text. Purchase of the print version confers access to the complementary web site.
Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
"With an authoritative, wide-ranging and engaging approach to biodiversity an sustainability, the Encyclopedia does and excellent job of synthesising material of many different kinds so as to advance our understanding of ecological systems."
Murray Gell-mann, The Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA
"My participation in the development of this Encyclopedia has been a very encouraging experience, particularly in providing an opportunity to see how broadly interest in biodiversity has spread. The Encyclopedia has deliberately been organised [sic] in a most inclusive way, and this will help people of all backgrounds learn more about their world and the other living things they share it with."
Sir Robert May, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government
"A scholarly resource for understanding this exceptional and living planet we call home...so solid and authoritative no library should be without."
Thomas E. Lovejoy, Chief Biodiversity Advisor, The World Bank
"The viability of any twenty-first century politics will hinge on its effective grasp of the principles of biodiversity. The Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, a clarification of key concepts in five volumes, will prove to be a terrific source for scholars, activists, and decision makers." Barry Lopez, Author of Arctic Dreams

Table of Contents

The subject listings below are for general guidance as to the content of related articles. Each topic is listed in only one area here. However, the Table of Contents by Subject Area in the actual encyclopedia will list a given topic in each appropriate subject area; e.g., the topic Breeding of Plants, will also appear in the Table of Contents under Plants.

  • Agriculture
  • Conservation and Restoration
  • Economics of Biodiversity
  • Environmental Conditions and Effects
  • Evolution
  • Extinctions (Actual and Potential)
  • Genetics
  • Geographic and Global Issues
  • Habitats and Ecosystems
  • Human Effects and Interventions
  • Invertebrates
  • Microbial Biodiversity
  • Plant Biodiversity
  • Population Issues
  • Public Policies and Attitudes
  • Species Interactions and Interrelationships
  • Systematics and Species Concept
  • Techniques and Measurements
  • Theories and Concepts of Biodiversity
  • Vertebrates