Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities Fragile Dominion
Complexity and the Commons


Simon Levin
Format: Hard Cover
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Perseus Books
ISBN: 0738201111
Copyright: 1999

Biological diversity is not just a source of aesthetic pleasure for Homo sapiens – it is the reason for our being. The earth’s abundant plant and animal life provides us with food, fiber, and a wellspring of pharmaceuticals. It also performs a variety of services – from stabilizing coastlines to trapping toxic pollutants – that are essential to our survival. But our planet is losing its biological diversity at an alarming rate, with frightening implications for our future. Can anything be done?

In this important book, Simon Levin draws on the science of complexity to shed light on the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity on our planet. The challenge, Levin points out, is to harness the natural forces that organize the biosphere rather than fruitlessly try to resist them. A deeply original work on one of the most pressing issues of our time, Fragile Dominion is a powerful appeal to understand and protect the global “commons.”


“Fragile Dominion looks at the evolution of biological diversity, and offers cutting-edge recommendations for managing earth’s ecosystems to benefit humanity. Written by one of the world’s leading evolutionists and ecologists, this book is a “must-read” for all concerned with the human future.”
-- Paul R. Ehrlich, Professor of Biology, Stanford University

“In Fragile Dominion, ecologist Simon Levin illuminates the fascinating relationships among ecology, evolution, complexity, and biodiversity. I recommend the book to anyone interested in the past, present, and future of life on this planet.”
-- Murray Gell-Mann, author of The Quark and the Jaguar

About the Author

Simon Levin is the Moffett Professor of Biology at Princeton University, and was the Founding Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute. He is Chairman of the Board of the Beijer Institute and the recipient of many prestigious academic awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the MacArthur Award of the Ecological Society of America. He is the author or editor of more than 25 books on ecology, biology, and biodiversity.

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