Forty-eight years since Rachel Carson's seminal book "Silent Spring" awoke the world to the devastation that developed countries were causing to their native wildlife, a new book examines whether things have got any better or worse.
Edited by Norman Maclean, the book brings together accounts of every major vertebrate and invertebrate group in the British Isles, and examines their conservation status. The amphibian chapter was written by Tim Halliday (Open University), and the reptile chapter by Chris Gleed-Owen (CGO Ecology Ltd).
In 1962, Carson's book highlighted the role of agro-chemicals in the decline of farmland birds, and eventually led to the banning of DDT in the USA. In this wholly different age of eco-awareness, "Silent Summer" provides an important opportunity to see whether anything has changed. Most wildlife in the British Isles has continued to decline over the last fifty years, including massive declines in farmland birds. Maclean's new book provides a timely wakeup call.
"Silent Summer" is available from May 2010 from Cambridge University Press.