Book reviews

In this age of instant messaging, tweets, blogs, rapid publication, on-line access, and internet searching, books and book reviews continue to have high value. Books, whether printed on paper or born digital, represent thoughtful distillation and syntheses of years of creativity and knowledge. For scientists like me, a book may summarize the intellectual paths and achievements of any of our entire career. Because there are many more books published every week than any one individual can read, book reviews help guide us to books worth reading and steer us clear of books that we can afford to miss.

I published my first book review in 1992, and have since published over four dozen more. These have been published in scientific journals as well as in bulletins and newsletters of scientific societies. While I continue to review new books, over the next few years I also will revisit the books I’ve reviewed and reflect on how well the books (and the reviews) have withstood the passage of time.


  1. Review of On being Maya: heritage politics and community development in Yucatan, by Sarah R. Taylor. Bulletin of Latin American Research 38: 538-539. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity, 2nd edition, by T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr. The Quarterly Review of Biology 94: 224-225. [ pdf ]
  3. Review of The Ants of Central and North Europe, by Bernhard SeifertMyrmecological News Blog January 2019. [ link ]
  4. The context of tropical biology (review of American tropics: the Caribbean roots of biodiversity science, by Megan Raby. Biotropica 51: 93-94. [ pdf ]


  1. An elegy for tropical forested wetlands (review of Endangered foretsed wetlands of Sundaland, by Gianluca Polgar and Zeechan Jaafar). Biotropica 50: 942-943. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Habitat suitability and distribution models: with applications in R, by Antoine Guisan, Wilfried Thuiller, and Niklaus E. Zimmermann; with contributions from Valeria Di Cola, Damien Georges, and Achilleas Psomas. The Quarterly Review of Biology 93: 269. [ pdf ]
  3. Ant-plant interactions in the Anthropocene (review of Ant-plant interactions: impacts of humans on terrestrial ecosystems, edited by Paulo S. Oliveira and Suzanne Koptur). Myrmecological News Blog 20 July 2018. [ link ]
  4. A sense of scale (review of Scale: the universal laws of growth, innovation, sustainability, and the pace of life in organisms, cities, economies, and companies, by Geoffrey West). Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 99 173-179. [ pdf ]
  5. Review of Moral ecology of a forest: the nature industry and Maya post-conservation, by José E. Martínez-Reyes. Bulletin of Latin American Research 37: 238-239. [ pdf ]


  1. The new ecology (review of The new ecology: rethinking a science for the Anthropocence, by Oswald J. Schmitz). Ecology 98: 1731-1732. [ pdf ]

  2. Review of The botany of mangroves, by P. B. Tomlinson. Plant Science Bulletin 63: 186-188. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of Carnivorous plants of Australia: magnum opus, by Allen Lowrie. Plant Science Bulletin 62: 52-53. [ pdf ].
  2. Our history (review of A centennial history of the Ecological Society of America, by F. N. Egerton). Ecology 97: 272-273. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of The herbaceous layer in forests of eastern North America, 2nd edition, edited by F. S. Gilliam. Rhodora 117: 109-111. [ pdf ]


  1. Multiple stable states in theory and reality (review of Multiple stable states in natural ecosystems, by P. Petraitis). Ecology 95: 1433-1434. [ pdf ]


  1. Our schizophrenic national forests (review of Forests for the people: the story of America’s eastern national forests, by C. Johnson and D. Govatski). Ecology 94: 1661-1662. [ pdf ]

  2. Stopping the hands of time (review of Making nature whole: a history of ecological restoration, by W. R. Jordan III and G. M. Lubick). Ecology 94: 766-767. [ pdf ]


  1. Homage to Hutchinson (review of G. Evelyn Hutchinson and the invention of modern ecology, by N. G. Slack, and The art of ecology: writings of G. Evelyn Hutchinson, edited by D. K. Skelly, D. M. Post, & M. D. Smith). Ecology 93: 1495-1497. [ pdf ]

  2. Review of Climate change, ecology, and systematics (edited by T. R. Hodkinson, M. B. Jones, S. Waldren, & J. A. N. Parnell). Ecology 93: 955-956. [ pdf ]

  3. Review of The world of northern evergreens, second edition, by E. C. Pielou. The Quarterly Review of Biology 87: 253. [ pdf ]

  4. Review of Aldrovanda: the waterwheel plant, by A. Cross. Plant Science Bulletin 58: 176-177. [ pdf ]

  5. Sarraceniaceae of the Americas (review of Sarraceniaceae of South America, by S. McPherson, A. Wistuba, A. Fleischmann, & J. Nerz, and Sarraceniaceae of North America, by S. McPherson and D. Schnell). Plant Science Bulletin 58: 173-174. [ pdf ]


  1. Making sense of a complex world (review of Resolving ecosystem complexity, by O. Schmitz). Ecology 92: 531-532. [ pdf ]

  2. Back to the future, darkly (review of Too smart for our own good: the ecological predicament of humankind, by C. Dilworth). Ecology 92: 262-264. [ pdf ]


  1. Ecology for our parents and our children (review of The balance of nature: ecology’s enduring myth, by J. Kricher). Ecology 91: 625-626. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Pitcher plants of the Old World, volumes 1 & 2 (by S. McPherson). Rhodora 112: 95-97. [ pdf ]
  3. Review of From plant traits to vegetation structure: chance and selection in the assembly of ecological communities (by B. Shipley). Plant Science Bulletin 56: 134-136. [ pdf ]


  1. Tropical forest ecology comes of age (review of Tropical forest community ecology, edited by W. P. Carson and S. A. Schnitzer). Ecology 90: 2020-2021. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of The ecology and evolution of ant-plant interactions (by V. Rico-Gray and P. S. Oliveira). Plant Science Bulletin 54: 78-79. [ pdf ]


  1. Renewing the dialectic of food web research (review of Ecological networks: linking structure and dynamics in food webs, edited by M. Pascual and J. A. Dunne). Ecology 88: 265-266. [ pdf ]


  1. The enemy of my enemy is my friend (review of Plant-provided food for carnivorous insects: a protective mutualism and its applications, edited by F. L. Wäckers, O. C. J. Van Rijn, & J. Bruin). Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21: 66-67. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Hunting for frogs on Elston (by J. Sullivan). Quarterly Review of Biology 81: 73. (co-authored with Jessica Butler). [ pdf ]


  1. Review of Tococa (Melastomataceae) (by F. A. Michelangeli). Plant Science Bulletin 51: 153-154. [ pdf ]


  1. A cure for a world of wounds? (Review of Red sky at morning: America and the crisis of the global environment by J. G. Speth). Ecology 85: 3181-3182. [ pdf ]
  2. Niches: looking backwards, looking forwards (Review of Ecological niches: linking classical and contemporary approaches by Johnathan Chase and Mathew Liebold, and Niche construction: the neglected process in evolution by F. John Odling-Smee, Kevin Laland, & Marcus Feldman). Ecology 85: 880-882. [ pdf ]
  3. Ellison, A. M. 2004. Review of Native trees for North American landscapes (by G. Sternberg, J. W. Wilson, & J. Wilson). Plant Science Bulletin 50: 140-141. [ pdf ]


  1. Does biodiversity really matter? (review of Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: synthesis and perspectives, editec by M. Loreau, S. Naeem, & P. Inchausti). Ecology 84: 2224-2225. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Carnivorous plants of the United States and Canada, 2nd edition (by Donald E. Schnell). Quarterly Review of Biology 78: 98. [ pdf ]


  1. A requiem for biodiversity in the Age of Humans (review of The world according to Pimm: a scientist audits the Earth, by S. L. Pimm). Ecology 83: 1169-1170. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Ecological assembly rules: perspectives, advances, retreats (edited by E. Weiher and P. Keddy). Écoscience 9: 284-285. [ pdf ]
  3. Review of Common trees in peat swamp forests of Peninsular Malaysia (by Ng Tian Peng and Shamsudin Ibrahim). Journal of Tropical Forest Science 14: 428-429. [ pdf ]
  4. Review of Captivating life: a naturalist in the age of genetics (by John C. Avise). Quarterly Review of Biology 77: 455. [ pdf ]
  5. Review of An illustrated encyclopedia of Clematis (by Mary K. Toomey Everett Leeds). Plant Science Bulletin 48: 151. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of Bromeliaceae: portrait of an adaptive radiation (by D. H. Benzing). Plant Science Bulletin 47: 24. [ pdf ]


  1. We can run, but we cannot hide (Review of Requiem for nature, by John Terborgh). Ecology 81: 883-885. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Halophyte uses in different climates (volume 1 edited by H. Leith et al., and volume 2 edited by A. Hamdy et al.). Plant Science Bulletin 46: 96-97. [ pdf ]
  3. Review of Spatial pattern analysis in plant ecology (by M. R. T. Dale). Plant Science Bulletin 46: 52-53. [ pdf ]


  1. Abandon all P-values, ye who enter here! (Review of Model selection and inference, by K. P. Burnham & M. Anderson). Ecology 80: 2139-2140. [ pdf ]


  1. Human onslaught in Madagascar (review of Natural change and human impact in Madagascar, ed. by S. M. Goodman and B. D. Patterson). Quarterly Review of Biology 73: 55-56. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of The ferns and allied plants of New England, by A. F. Tryon & R. C. Moran. Plant Science Bulletin 44: 58. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of Gardener’s guide to growing hostas (by D. Grenfell). Plant Science Bulletin 43: 17-18. [ pdf ]


  1. A synthetic review of several major ecology textbooks. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 77: 93-99. (co-authored with Stuart K. Allison, Willliam J. Ehmann, and John Mull). [ pdf ]

  2. Review of Tropical forests: management and ecology (edited by A. E. Lugo & C. Lowe). Plant Science Bulletin 42: 50-51. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of A naturalist in Florida (by Archie Carr). Quarterly Review of Biology 70: 62-63. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Biological diversity: the coexistence of species on changing landscapes (by M. Huston). Plant Science Bulletin 41: 54-56. [ pdf ]


  1. Right between the eyes (review of Visualizing data, by W.S. Cleveland). Bioscience 44: 622-623. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Wetlands of the world, volume 1 (ed. by. D.F. Whigham, D. Dykyjová, & S. Hejný). BioScience 44: 498-499. [ pdf ]
  3. Review of Tropical mangrove ecosystems (ed. by A.I. Robertson & D. Alongi). BioScience 44: 187-188. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of Plant biomechanics (by K.J. Niklas). Ecology 74: 1905-1906. [ pdf ]
  2. A saltmarsh elegy (review of Saltmarshes: morphodynamics, conservation and engineering significance, J.R.L. Allen & K. Pye, editors). BioScience 43: 174-175. [ pdf ]


  1. Review of The biology of vines (F.E. Putz & H.A. Mooney, editors). Plant Science Bulletin 38: 24-26. [ pdf ]
  2. Review of Species conservation: a population-biological approach (A. Seitz & V. Loeschcke, editors). Plant Science Bulletin 38: 20-21. [ pdf ]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s