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The Machinery Of Nature (Paladin Books)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  3 reviews
This explanation of ecology, written specifically for nonscientists emphasizes the relationships of living things and their environment and the delicate balance of natural ecosystems.
Paperback
Published 1988 (first published January 1st 1986)
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Joshua Parkinson
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is out of print, so you can only find it in libraries. If you can get your hands on it, it's a great read. Ehrlich defines and describes the most fundamental cogs in nature's machinery, and the relationships between those cogs. The final chapter on ecosystems is the creme of the book, and the creme of that creme is his discussion of how food chains are ruled by entropy (the second law of thermodynamics).

Why is the total mass of top level predators a mere fraction of the total mass of
...more
Litbitch
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: nature, nonfiction
well written and a clear exploration of important aspects of evolutionary ecology, but so old
(mid-80s) that the great threat is nuclear war & there is almost no mention of climate change. i picked it up at a little free library - a great gift in a time when i needed to shift perspective, but i'd definitely recommend interested parties read something more current
...more
Megs
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Published in 1986, it is still a core book on ecology. A little of the science has changed, but the essential parts of the discussions on ecology still hold true. The book is smartly written and its not preachy or self-righteous. The explanations and examples used clarify the themes which are discuss therein. I highly recommend this book to those who would like to get a firm grip on ecology basics. The only aspect of the book I did not enjoy was the author's periodic peppering ...more
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Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies), but he is better known as an ecologist and a demographer, specifically for his warnings about ...more

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