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

By Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham

Disentangling the proof from the hype, this 'Domesday booklet' of the British and Irish geographical region deals 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 natural world specialists and translates them for a much wider 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 development is influencing its improvement. fantastically illustrated with color plates and wooden engravings all through, this obtainable and well timed learn unearths simply how swiftly our geographical region and its flora and fauna are altering, why we must always be anxious, and what we will be able to do approximately it.

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We will return to consider this important question again at the conclusion of this book. To address it briefly, the short answer is no. The difficulty is one of the time needed to change. We can see that small changes in behaviour are possible within a few years, such as the new pattern of goldfinches feeding on niger seed provided at garden feeding stations, but substantial changes requiring genetic modification take far longer, often thousands or even millions of years. 15 A more generally representative example comes from birds referred to earlier in the context of avian malaria, the honeycreepers on the islands of Hawaii.

Although these gases account for only about 1% of the atmospheric composition, they are extremely efficient at reflecting back the heat from the Earth. 1 Diagram to illustrate the greenhouse gas effect. In response to solar radiation, the Earth emits long-wave (infrared) radiation, some of which is reflected back to Earth by greenhouse gases. 8 The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons and ozone. Not all greenhouse gases result from human activity. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have fluctuated wildly during past Earth history, and much of the atmospheric CO2 is not a result of human activity, but CO2 levels are now rising steeply because of industrialisation, going from 280 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere in pre-industrial times to present levels of about 388 ppm.

Perhaps the most serious impact of climate change on ice retreat is the melting of polar ice in Greenland and Antarctica and the effect this is having and will have on sea levels. If all polar ice melted it has been estimated that there would be a world sea-level rise of 70 m. Present change indicates a sea-level rise of about 1 mm per year, contributions from the Arctic and 36 | A LESS GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND Antarctica being about equal, and over the last 120 years sea levels are estimated to have risen by 20 cm, which equates to over 1 mm per year.

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