The Kingdom of Rarities
An eye-opening tour of the rare and exotic, The Kingdom of Rarities offers us a new understanding of the natural world, one that places rarity at the center of conservation biology. Looking at real-time threats to biodiversity, from climate change to habitat fragmentation, and drawing on his long and distinguished scientific career, Dinerstein offers readers fresh insights into fascinating questions about the science of rarity and unforgettable experiences from the field.
they used, George and his colleagues placed automatic cameras known as camera traps in the dense forest to document the presence of species, such as jaguars, that shun detection by human eyes. A camera is set up along an animal trail, and whenever a moving subject passes in front of it, a sensor is triggered and—Click!—a photographic record is made, with an electronic date and time stamp. The results can be breathtaking. With the use of hidden cameras, species that were once ghosts—never seen by
the loss of many adults could be devastating. Joe had his own set of unanswered questions that meshed with Sarah’s. The first addressed what winter habitat qualities the birds preferred. Over several years, his team had identified the conditions the warblers favored in late winter just prior to migration, which might have a bearing on their rarity and their survival. On Eleuthera Island, where he found a small concentration of wintering Kirtland’s, the birds eat a lot of fruit and prefer
lingered on a massif that stood by itself in northern Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The solitary giant sat about 42 kilometers from the Caribbean coast and about 115 kilometers from where the sawtooth eruptions of the northern Andean chain began. Santa Marta in Colombia, like Mounts Kilimanjaro and Udzungwa in Tanzania, Mount Cameroon on the border of Nigeria and Cameroon, and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, are but a few of the dozens of solitary mountains in the tropical belt
species. This group is known as the silversword alliance, a brother- or sisterhood of plants adapted to living under extremely harsh conditions—under the volcano and on its cinder fields or in acid swamps known as bogs. How could plants that survive the tough life in the shadows of volcanoes, exposed to wind and freezing temperatures and desiccation from intense sunshine, and those that thrive in bogs and in such low-nutrient soils, have become so rare? Volcanoes and bogs should be the boot camps
the key to frequent evolution of new species and new rarities; rather, it is isolation, which can be provided by island archipelagoes or large islands. If all islands are physically isolated from a mainland, are all islands, by the very nature of their limited range, repositories of rarities? Not necessarily, because several factors influence evolutionary processes on islands. Among them are distance from a mainland, length of time the island has been isolated, and size and diversity of habitats