The Hidden Universe: Adventures in Biodiversity

Univ. of Chicago. Sept. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780226821870. $22. NAT HIST
Biogeography expert and botanist Antonelli (dir. of science, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) presents an easily understood primer on biodiversity. After explaining the five facets of biodiversity—species, genes, evolution, functions, and ecosystems—he offers the reasons biodiversity is important for humans, the health of ecosystems, and the innate rights of species to exist. He also details various threats to biodiversity: habitat loss, exploitation, climate change, invasive species, pollution, and new diseases. Antonelli concludes with how governments, businesses, and the general public can help preserve biodiversity—for example, eating less meat, walking, biking, and buying less stuff can all help. There is also an extensive list of works for further reading.
VERDICT Readers interested in biodiversity, the environment, or ecology will enjoy this fascinating work. Readers advisory: for accounts of current innovative projects underway to preserve or restore biodiversity, check out Kinari Webb’s Guardians of the Trees and Hannah Lewis’s Mini-Forest Revolution.
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