There is a need to gather syntheses of research so that others
may gain an understanding of how the field is developing. This
is especially true of conservation where techniques are often
not well written down or are to be found in disparate publications.
Such work is increasingly important given the pressures to conserve.
This is recognised by the Oxford 'Techniques in Ecology and
Conservation Series' of which this book is one of the latest
aim is to describe the key techniques and how they can be applied.
However, as is made very clear at the start, conservation is
more than just technique - there is a need to put it into context
and the 'sell' the idea to interested stakeholders. This idea
is the focus of chapter one which both outlines the book's objectives
and shows how research must be planned not just for relevance
at the scientific level but also at the policy and people level.
If the aim of conservation ecology is to understand location
(pattern) and ecosystem function and dynamic (process) then
chapter two is an overview of techniques dealing with the former.
Starting with the older more obvious aerial survey, the chapter
continues to examine critically, satellite and GIS methodologies.
Also in terms of pattern, chapter three considers the vertical
and species patterns of forests. Again, a range of methods are
critiqued starting with a useful overview of the theory and
practice of sampling and continuing with age methods, species
diversity and the use of statistical analysis. Chapter four
starts the move towards forest processes with an examination
of dynamics. There's a brief discussion of the key concepts
which focusses on ideas of disturbance and gaps, tree growth
characteristics and seed banks. Data need to be analysed and
so chapter five turns to look at how data gathered can be treated.
The more obvious methods e.g. growth and yield tables are mentioned
alongside life tables and a range of adapted ecological models.
Chapter six deals with the less common area of reproduction
- the rate of tree replacement. Often this is an area that has
received less attention and so it is useful to see it here as
it adds logically to the work preceding; the reader gets an
overview of all areas of forest ecology. Chapter seven turns
towards forest as home and a range of techniques that can be
used to assess the wildlife potential of a woodland. A final
chapter departs from the previous studies and harks back to
the introduction as it puts a case for using research techniques
as part of the larger conservation picture.
this is one of the more specialised areas of ecology it has
much to offer the more general reader. It gives an excellent
critique of the main field techniques. As important, if not
more so in this context, it provides a framework within which
these techniques need to work if we are to conserve, on a scientific
basis, forest and woodland. The need to present data to non-specialists
is always present as a useful reminder to those who produce
it. This book will appeal most to those in field centres looking
for more advanced work for students and those teaching wildlife
conservation courses where the arguments for relevant fieldwork