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Alaska: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide

Alaska: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide
Dennis Paulson and Les Beletsky
Academic Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 441 p., $29.95

Ecotourism, that is, travel with an aim to examine wildlife or to explore natural areas, needs its Baedeckers or Michelins. This series from Academic Press will certainly fill the need for objective, easy-to-read and easy-to-use natural histories about ecotourist destinations around the world. Developed with the imprimatur of the Wildlife Conservation Society, these books provide plenty of detail on the flora and fauna of different parts of the world. This volume on Alaska is full of engaging detail on different insects, marine invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, birds and mammals, accompanied by color illustrations (filling 75 plates).

It certainly will appeal to the more than one million ecotourists visiting Alaska each year. Each animal is described by its taxonomy, geographic distribution, morphology, ecology and behavior, breeding, interactions, lore and conservation status. The color plates then describe each animal by its common and scientific name, size, habitat and geographic distribution. Before the animal sections of this book (which fill some 350 pages), several chapters describe the natural regions of Alaska and environmental threats and conservation; a concluding chapter briefly treats the work of the Wildlife Conservation Society in North America.

Given its format and content, this book, and others like it in the series, should be very popular with ecotourists and anyone looking for a basic and entertaining description of a particular region's fauna and flora. Bio-Baedecker indeed!

— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden