Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa

January 9, 2020 | Updated: January 17, 2020
Author: John W. Wilson, Richard B. Primack, Boston University

Easy to read, this lucid and accessible textbook includes fifteen chapters that cover a full range of conservation topics, including threats to biodiversity, environmental laws, and protected areas management, as well as related topics such as sustainability, poverty, and human-wildlife conflict. This rich resource also includes a background discussion of what conservation biology is, a wide range of theoretical approaches to the subject, and concrete examples of conservation practice in specific African contexts. Strategies are outlined to protect biodiversity whilst promoting economic development in the region.

Subject Areas
Biological/Physical Sciences, Biology

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Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa by John W. Wilson, Richard B. Primack, Boston University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 4.7 / 5

Thomas Flower

Institution:Capilano UniversityTitle/Position: Lecturer, Biology Department, Capilano University; Honorary Research Associate, FItzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town; Associate Professor, Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser UniversityCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The textbook provides exceptional coverage of Conservation Biology as a field with excellent focus on the sub-saharan environment. The field is shifting fast as we better integrate human resource use with conservation management for biodiversity, but this topic is nevertheless reflected in a chapter.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Content is exceptionally accurate owing to the authors experience in writing on the topics. The authors also reflect open discussions in the field of conservation fairly by presenting evidence for the reader to compare and contrast.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

In this book, the authors draw on their 20 year experience writing the seminal Conservation Biology textbooks and couple this trusted content with novel material on the Sub-saharan environment and recent theoretical advances in the field. The thorough coverage of past and current topics will ensure the book will remain relevant, particularly at the 300 level. Some areas of Conservation science, particularly surrounding decolonisation and indigenisation, are perhaps insufficiently addressed given how rapidly the field is changing. Nevertheless, these topics are covered and in a fashion consistent with current trends that respect indigenous knowledge holders.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The authors experience in writing and presenting the contents ensures that information is clear and concise. The same clarity is evident in the additional content in the form of invited case studies from active research scientists. Indeed, I consider this an exceptional book in this regard.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Despite my efforts I was unable to find inconsistent terminology use. Once more, the authors leverage past experience to present material they have near perfect clarity in communicating.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

The book is organised at varying levels from multi-chapter themes, to chapters to sub-sections and further subsections within these. All sections are clearly identified within bullet pointed learning outcomes and simple summary sentences at the start of each section. Key terms are highlighted in bold and repeated in the glossary.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The authors adopt a well practised structure which is entirely logical. This does not represent a novel or exciting approach, but is effective and trusted by Conservation Biology Instructors. The new content on Sub-saharan Africa is carefully built into this structure in an effective manor.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

I found the text simple to use and intuitive within a pdf format as well as using the hard copy.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

Once more, the authors experience coupled to collaboration with notoriously sharp eyed academics from the Sub-saharan Conservation Biology research field ensure a near total lack of errors.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The text introduces work from diverse research scientists writing the case studies and speaks emphatically on the need to respect indigenous knowledge holders and make Conservation Biology inclusive for all regardless of their ways of knowing, gender, ethnicity etc. Inevitably, a book written from within a Western scientific tradition presents a western scientific approach predominantly, Indeed, one would not wish the authors to do anything else as they are experts at this approach and aware of its shortcomings as well as its benefits; one must simply recognise this as context for the book.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I strongly recommend this book to instructors teaching Conservation Biology with or without a focus on Sub-saharan Africa. The authors have effectively taken all that they do in their premium Conservation Biology text and then additionally included content on Sub-saharan Africa and its specific challenges. Instructors will not have the same diversity of global examples, nor the number of figures that are present in the paid books by the authors, but in all other respects this book is equal to or exceeds paid texts on Conservation Biology.
For more non-specialist Conservation Biology courses at the 300/400 level this book is also ideal. For 400 level students specialising in Conservation Biology, this may form more of a reference text, but would still be valuable.

For context, the authors state that they wanted to make a version of their paid content texts available to Sub-saharan African researchers and they have succeeded in doing so by building off their unrivalled expertise in producing Conservation Biology texts. The upshot is that students of conservation biology from elsewhere in the world may benefit too.