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Description

Product Description

An ornithologist’s personal look at farming practices that finds practical solutions for sustainable food production compatible with bird and wildlife conservation

With predictions of a human population of more than nine billion by the middle of this century and eleven billion by 2100, we stand at a crossroads in our agricultural evolution. In this clear and engaging yet scientifically rigorous book, wildlife biologist John M. Marzluff takes a personal approach to sustainable agriculture. He travels to farms and ranches across North and Central America, including a Nebraska corn and soybean farm, California vineyards, cattle ranches in Montana, and small sustainable farms in Costa Rica, to understand the unique challenges and solutions to sustainable food production.
 
Agriculture and wildlife can coexist, Marzluff argues, if farmers are justly rewarded for conservation; if future technological advancements increase food production and reduce food waste; and if consumers cut back on meat consumption. Beginning with a look backward at our evolutionary history and concluding with practical solutions for change that will benefit farmers and ranchers, he provides an accessible and insightful study for the ecologically minded citizen, farmer, rancher, or conservationist.

Review

"Excellent . . . a rare offering on the subject of agriculture and sustainability within the farming industry. . . . Highly recommended for all interested in agriculture, ranching, natural history, conservation, sustainability, and ecology."— Library Journal

"[Marzluff''s] latest book takes us . . . to rural areas where farmers are attempting to live in harmony with wildlife. The focus this time is on the humans, not the birds, spotlighting the successes and limitations of sustainable agriculture."—Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History

"Evidence-based, accessible, and remarkably eloquent throughout. . . . Equally intriguing to farmers, ranchers, birders, and naturalists . . . Should be on the shelf of every ornithologist seeking innovative ways to sustain bird communities and to feed the next generation of people in a rapidly changing world."—Liba Pejchar, Ornithological Applications

"Marzluff highlights a path to a more viable, sustainable future of farming. . . . Highly recommended. All readers."— Choice

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles, 2020

"An eloquent, science-based perspective on how meadowlarks and cows, owls and vineyards, and other wildlife and agricultural practices can co-exist and provide abundant and healthy food.  A must-read for everyone.”—Bernd Heinrich,  author of  The Snoring Bird

"John Marzluff takes us beyond abstract discussions of agriculture and shows how different approaches to farming directly affect families and local communities, as well as economic productivity and biological diversity.”—Robert Askins, author of Saving the World’s Deciduous Forests and Restoring North America’s Birds

“John Marzluff has followed meadowlarks to find inspiring stories of renewal and hope, and through them we can find our way forward.”—Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

“John Marzluff’s book is well-written, thoughtful, and timely, especially when biodiversity is in drastic decline.”—Alexis Racelis, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

"The way farming affects wildlife is one of the most urgent problems facing humanity. John Marzluff has produced a wise, readable and — above all — optimistic look at the issues."—Professor Tim Birkhead, University of Sheffield, and author of The Wonderful Mr Willughby: The First True Ornithologist

About the Author

John M. Marzluff is professor of environmental and forest sciences at the University of Washington and is the author or coauthor of several books, including In the Company of Crows and Ravens; Dog Days, Raven Nights; and Welcome to Subirdia.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
9 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Carl J. Nollen
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meadowlarks need prairies and pastures
Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2021
I bought this book mainly to see what Mr. Marzluff would say about crop fields and their birds in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska. Here, the grassy drainage strips in cropland are mowed to keep the weeds down. Roadside ditches are commonly mowed to look like they are part of... See more
I bought this book mainly to see what Mr. Marzluff would say about crop fields and their birds in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska. Here, the grassy drainage strips in cropland are mowed to keep the weeds down. Roadside ditches are commonly mowed to look like they are part of the farmers'' lawns. Grass carpeting everywhere. Fortunately, I am close to the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge at Prairie City Iowa, where 6000 acres of former cropland are being restored to prairie. Meadowlarks, Henslow''s sparrows and short-eared owls are doing well here, among other grassland species. The STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) Project began here in 2003 to show the benefit of planting strips of prairie among corn and soybean fields. Neither the Refuge or this important Project were mentioned in the book, but he did mention, on page 49, the surprising benefits of "incorporating a little bit of prairie in the Iowa cornfield." However, these strips are too small for some birds such as bobolinks and Henslow''s sparrows which need large prairies. Incentivized conservation for farmers with a conservation ethic will help slow the "creep of corn."
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Avery
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best Bird Book of 2020
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2020
An in depth look at the current state of birds and the ecological impact of agriculture throughout the world. I enjoy how science and adventure are interwoven throughout the entire book! A great read for anyone who loves non-fiction and personal stories without being... See more
An in depth look at the current state of birds and the ecological impact of agriculture throughout the world. I enjoy how science and adventure are interwoven throughout the entire book! A great read for anyone who loves non-fiction and personal stories without being overwhelmed by methods and complicated models. Perfect travel book!
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Patricia A Johnson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
We need to save some natural trees and shrubs in our ranch areas.
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2020
Very informative—I bought 2 and shared one with my sister on a ranch in Oregon.
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