Revealed Biodiversity: An Economic History of the Human Impact aims to show that for several centuries environmental conditions have been substantially the product of economic fluctuations. It contests the notion of perpetual decline in species composition. The arguments are supported by far more precise historical detail than is usual in books about ecology. The need to take the gains to human society into account when assessing environmental change is strongly emphasized. The book features case studies including England, the Netherlands, USA, East Asia, Brazil, and the areas of modern agricultural ‘land grab’.
This book is important for its close attention to the documented historical record of environmental change in several countries over several centuries; for its demonstration of how much wildlife populations have been influenced by fluctuations in market activity; for revealing the need to be sensitive to historical baselines; and for emphasizing the imperative of taking the gains to human society into account when assessing environmental change. It, therefore, has considerable significance for environmental and conservation policies as well as for future studies in ecological history.