Do we need pandas?

panda(Do we need pandas? by Ken Thompson. Photo credit: Green Books)

(Image above shows the title and the name of the author alongside a picture of a panda)

Do we need pandas? is a fascinating look at what we do and don’t understand about biodiversity.

In his book, author Ken Thompson covers what we know about what biodiversity consists of, what explains the patterns of diversity around the world, what functions biodiversity carries out for us and the planet as a whole, and why species are currently threatened.

It is a very accessible and engaging read. The author’s ideas are well organised, with specific examples cited to demonstrate what is being discussed.

Thompson’s answer to the question posed in the book’s title is no, or at least, probably not. Ultimately, we are unlikely to be affected if we lose certain individual species (though we can all agree that any loss of life’s diversity would be a shame).

The author explains why we need to be more concerned about ecosystems rather than individual iconic species, such as the panda. This is because singling out any individual species for protection does not solve the more general, underlying problem of the destruction of natural habitat around the world.

Thompson suggests that conservation efforts should concentrate on ensuring that earth’s ecosystems are well equipped to support diversity. If we focus on this, it is argued, the problem of loss of species will resolve itself.

Further details on Do we need pandas? can be found on the main catalogue, available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website.