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The Variety of Life can be read at many levels. Not least it is an extraordinary inventory – an illustrated summary of all the Earthly creatures that have ever lived. Whatever living thing you come across, from E coli to an oak tree or an elephant, The Variety of Life will show you what kind of creature it is, and how it relates to all others. Yet there are far too many creatures to present merely as a catalogue. The list of species already described is vast enough – nearly two million – but there could in reality be as many as 30 million different animals, plants, fungi and protists – and perhaps another 400 million different bacteria and archaea. In the 4,000 million years or so since life first began on Earth, there could have been several thousand billion different species. The only way to keep track of so many is to classify – placing similar creatures into categories, which nest within larger categories, and so on. As the centuries have passed, so it has become clear that the different groups are far more diverse than had ever been appreciated. Thus Linneus in the 18th century placed all living things in just two kingdoms, Animals and Plants. By the 1950s this had become five kingdoms – with fungi, protists, and bacteria hived off into their own separate groups. But leading biologists today acknowledge three vastly different domains, each divided into many kingdoms – so that animals and plants, spectacular though they are, are just a fragment of the whole. The Variety of Life explains the means by which systematists have attempted such a mammoth classification of so many various creatures – which in turn leads us into some of the most intriguing and knottiest areas of modern biology: evolutionary theory, molecular genetics, and the history of biological thought. Finally, however, The Variety of Life can simply be seen as a celebration. We should all share Miranda’s pleasure in Shakespeare’s Tempest – ‘How many goodly creatures are there here!’ – and feel, as she did, what a privilege it is to share this planet with such wonders. Their fate is in our hands; and first, we must begin to appreciate them.
Dr Richard Barnes was the world authority on Acacia Trees based at Oxford University. He worked with others to produce this book that shows how useful this indigenous species can be. Creating wealth through knowledge is a by product of this publication.
Learn how to take the best landscape photographs possible with this stunning new guide from world renowned photographer, Tom Mackie. With the sophistication of camera equipment today, taking a regular photograph is relatively straightforward. But taking – and making – a photograph that will have more impact than others requires much greater insight. Rather than concentrating on techniques, here Mackie breaks down all the different sub-genres of landscape photography and examines the challenges and particular processes involved with each specific environment. From the white sand beaches of Aruba, to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, each chapter is illustrated by Mackie’s best images, with detailed captions that explain exactly how each image was achieved.
This lavish book presents the 21 upland gamebird species from southern Africa: francolins and spurfowls (12 species), quails (3 species), guineafowls (2 species) and sandgrouse (4 species). The authoritative text is matched by detailed and beautifully illustrated plates of each species. An essential book for bird and art lovers, as well as the conservation-minded. The text draws on the large body of scientific research accumulated over decades, and the illustrated plates of each species are works of art, conveying in painstaking detail each species’ diagnostic features and precise environment.
This is a beautiful and indispensable guide that will appeal to the expert and amateur alike of all ages. It offers a wealth of information on identifying over 125 of the most commonly encountered garden wildlife in Britain and Northern Europe. Grouped in categories, each species is clearly described with informed and concise text and an easy-to-follow layout aids quick identification. Illustrated with 125 detailed colour artworks and accompanied by accessible yet informed text this guide is a wonderful addition to any book shelf. The Wildlife Trusts and Wildlife Watch – the UK’s leading club for young environmentalists – have been speaking out for wildlife since 1912 and play a key part in restoring the balance between new developments and the natural world. With the specialist skills of volunteers and staff they manage more than 2,300 wildlife reserves.
This book unravels the mysteries of identifying the 1 800 species of trees in southern Africa. The authors have categorised trees into 43 groups, using easy-to-observe characteristics such as leaf and berry or fruit size and shape, absence or presence of latex, or the presence or absence of thorns. In a logical series of steps, allied to the liberal use of diagrams, maps and images, the layperson or expert is able to quickly and easily isolate the main characteristics of a particular tree, and from there make a positive identification.
Both palmistry and Astrology originated in India more than 3000 years ago and have been popular for ages.Astrology has almost as many faces as life itself. For some it is a science, for some it is an art or a skill or even a religion. Use the information in these books to shape your personality.
Climate change is at the top of many people’s concerns, but it’s not always clear what the solutions are. We are ready and willing to make changes to our lifestyles, but often get confusing advice about which are the best ones to make. Do we all have to put on hair shirts, or is it possible to live a comfortable, enjoyable greener life? These books will show you how to make small and big changes in a positive and practical manner. Accompanied by full-colour illustrations and photographs, each book will give you 50 of the best ideas to make your house (and garden) greener, save water and energy and be a greener shopper and Traveler, without asking you to turn your whole life upside down or turning you into a bore.