Wetlands Explained: Wetland Science, Policy, and Politics in America

Wetlands Explained: Wetland Science, Policy, and Politics in America

Wetlands Explained: Wetland Science, Policy, and Politics in America

Wetlands Explained: Wetland Science, Policy, and Politics in America

Synopsis

This book combines a broad scientific and sociopolitical view of US wetlands, for a wide audience of students and professionals concerned with basic or applied ecology, environmental conservation and policy. Wetland science is a new and rapidly evolving branch of ecosystem science, and wetland regulation is increasingly central to conservation policy. Regulatory initiatives frequently raise unanswered questions, while scientific study supports or calls into question regulatory practice, which occurs in an environment of intense public scrutiny. This primer lays out the science and policy considerations in a format accessible and useful to all who would be involved in wetland ecology, and his book would also serve as a supplementary text for courses on conservation biology, wetlands or environmental policy.

Excerpt

Wetland science is a new and rapidly evolving branch of ecosystem science, and wetland regulation is a new and rapidly evolving sociopolitical enterprise. The two have an intense relationship that is in many ways reminiscent of the relationship between nuclear physics and national defense 50 years ago. Regulatory initiatives constantly raise unanswered scientific questions, while scientific study supports or calls into question regulatory practice; both regulation and science develop in an atmosphere that is highly charged politically.

With a few notable exceptions, writings on wetlands have been directed to individuals who have special knowledge of some aspect of wetland science, policy, or regulation. Concise overviews of the entire field without the presumption of special knowledge are difficult to find, and yet they are essential in broadening the general accessibility of this inherently multidisciplinary subject. The purpose of this book is to bring together, in compact form, a broad scientific and sociopolitical view of U. S. wetlands, without assuming that the reader has a specialized background.

This work stems from my association with the National Research Council's Committee on Wetland Characterization (1994–1995). The committee's report, which is cited at numerous points in this book, is my point of departure in trying to make this diverse subject matter as transparent as possible to nonspecialists. I am grateful to the members of the NRC committee; many of them have given me valuable information as I worked on this book. I am especially indebted to former . . .

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