Paper, 350 p., $35.00
Two hundred years ago, it was estimated that the prairie dog population, which inhabited western grasslands, exceeded five billion. Today, scientists estimate that less than two percent of that number still exists, mainly due to the efforts of ranchers and farmers to control what they considered pests. In this collection of research findings from contributing scientists and experts, the subject is explored in depth, as they examine the question, “Why care about prairie dogs?” The main argument for conservation of these controversial animals is that they play a key role in the grassland ecosystem. Readers will find the text particularly worthwhile reading, as the rationale and methods for their conservation are applicable to other species.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden