By Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham

ISBN-10: 1107673232

ISBN-13: 9781107673236

Disentangling the evidence from the hype, this 'Domesday ebook' of the British and Irish nation-state bargains a definitive and updated survey of the nation of our flora and fauna this day. Norman Maclean, editor of the bestselling Silent summer season, examines the newest findings of england and Ireland's most sensible flora and fauna specialists and translates them for a much broader viewers. every one bankruptcy presents trustworthy estimates of animal populations, exhibiting which species are thriving and that are in decline. The booklet additionally considers the consequences of weather switch on our flora and fauna and the way human inhabitants progress is influencing its improvement. fantastically illustrated with color plates and wooden engravings all through, this obtainable and well timed examine finds simply how swiftly our nation-state and its flora and fauna are altering, why we should always be anxious, and what we will do approximately it.

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Extra info for A Less Green and Pleasant Land: Our Threatened Wildlife

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As we shall see, the evolution of primitive early life made possible the conditions that favoured the evolution of later, more sophisticated, life forms. The present-day ‘dry’ atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and 1–4% water vapour, with very low amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and rare gases. DEVELOPMENT OF WATER ON EARTH Free water is essential to life as we know it, yet it was probably not present in the earliest life of the planet. Some was locked up in materials forming the Earth and much may have been brought to Earth by comets.

EARLIEST LIFE EVOLVES ON EARTH The earliest life forms are thought to have begun evolving just under 4000 mya, not so long after the Earth had begun its separate history. Understanding of the nature of these early life forms has advanced greatly in the last 20 years or so. When I was a science undergraduate, life seemed to be inconceivable above temperatures of around 60°C, largely because conventional proteins become denatured at temperatures above 60°C, and most of our food is regarded as sterile (and bacteria-free) provided we boil it at around 100°C.

This is believed to have resulted not from climate change directly but from the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels resulting from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels. 14 in this time period,4 which, expressed in more dramatic terms, is equivalent to an increase of 30% in the hydrogen ion concentration, which is ‘acidity’. The effects at the sea surface are most apparent outside the tropical belts. 5 Ocean acidification brings many problems for marine life, none more dramatic than the slower growth or death of coral due to reduced calcification or enhanced calcium solution.

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A Less Green and Pleasant Land: Our Threatened Wildlife by Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham

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