the pristine Jamaica of James Bond’s creator is in danger. Overfishing has imperiled the barracuda’s habitat: Fewer algae-eating fish spurs coral die-off, and the practice of fishing with dynamite has had catastrophic effects. But over the past seven years, a former record company executive has slowly built a network of conservationists to help protect the ecosystem near Fleming’s home, dubbed Goldeneye, creating a template for others in the process.
You learn about knots and water flow and snowmelt and follow the mating habits of bugs like they’re Kardashians — and how climate change means bark beetles are surviving the warming winters, killing off unprecedented acres of Ponderosa pines across the West. Ponderosa pines smell like vanilla cake. Not just vanilla and not just cake, but vanilla cake. I love knowing that, and I love knowing that you practically have to hug them to smell it. But every year I go back to Montana, I see more dying off and know the world is changing and it makes me sad.
This cynical girl from Harlem, USA, didn’t grow up with anyone who fished this way.
…so what is it you do, exactly? Colorado State’s Kurt Fausch tackles the question in his book For the Love of Rivers. In Fausch’s case, how aquatic communities of fish and invertebrates are structured, how they are linked to terrestrial ecosystems, and how humans alter those linkages. It’s thoughtful, and messy- if scientists knew how to answer these questions they’d already be answered- and sometimes the solutions seem absurd, like fixing plastic greenhouses over creeks to understand the importance of streamside insects to native trout. But understanding how these systems work helps us fix them when they break. Fixing them when they break ensures our children have the same opportunities our parents provided us. Fausch’s book is a must-read for those interested in field biology generally, for those interested in field biology as a career, and perhaps most importantly- as a primer in how to engage and interest the public in field research that contributes to the health of their environment.
Posted in Conservation, Ecology, Good Reads, Trout, Water, Wilderness
Tagged Books, Conservation, Ecology, Nature, Outdoors, Reading, Rivers