Southern Rivers: Restoring America’s Freshwater Biodiversity

Univ. of Alabama. Mar. 2024. 508p. ISBN 9780817361280. pap. $34.95. NAT HIST
Biologist Duncan (executive director, Alabama Audubon; Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising Biodiversity) has traveled the world studying different ecosystems. In this natural history book, he examines his local turf, the rivers of the southeastern part of the U.S. He describes the consequences of human activity and climate change in the region—the connections between sturgeon overfishing in Pensacola Bay, FL; dams that interrupt shellfish breeding in Muscle Shoals, AL; and flooding in Norfolk, VA. He explains how the industrialization of rivers has led to droughts, flooding, the loss of species, rising sea levels, water shortages, pollution, harmful algal blooms, toxins in seafood, and poor water quality. He shows that these problems affect the health of other organisms as well as, most directly, the health of the people who live nearby. He is optimistic, however, about what can be done through restoration and adaptation with the right technologies and popular and legislative support for thriving ecosystems.
VERDICT A wide-ranging picture of interconnectedness between aquatic biodiversity and humanity. Includes rich terminology and vivid descriptions and photographs. Highly recommended for libraries in the Southeast or any library with a strong environmental history collection.
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