Do We Need Pandas?
The Uncomfortable Truth About Biodiversity

By Ken Thompson

Do We Need Pandas?
Paperback, 160 pages £9.95
Published: 14th September 2010
ISBN: 9781900322867
Format: 216mm x 138mm


How much is really known about the species that make up the natural world? In this fascinating book, Ken Thompson explains what we do and don't understand about biodiversity. We know that most species remain undiscovered, and that biodiversity is gravely threatened by overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Life on Earth has previously experienced five episodes of mass extinction, and we are now in the middle of a sixth. Do We Need Pandas? surveys the Earth's biodiversity, its origins, and some of the threats it currently faces. It then asks how biodiversity loss will affect the human race. Will we even notice, and if we do, what will we notice? It asks what we should be doing to secure the survival not only of the species with which we share the planet, but of ourselves—and whether we need to be more concerned about ecosystems as a whole than about iconic species.

Foreword by Tony Kendle                                        


1     What is biodiversity?                                        

2     Biodiversity: where and why?                            

3     Inside species                                                 

4     What is biodiversity worth?                               

5     Threats to biodiversity                                       

6     Are species necessary?                                   

7     Reasons to be cheerful?                                   



"To those of us who do not have ready access to scientific periodicals, this short book is a revelation."

- Garden Talk - March 2011

"Do We Need Pandas? is an accessible and engaging read. The author's ideas are well organised, with specific examples cited to demonstrate what is being discussed."

- National Library of Scotland - May 2011

"I'm not a scientific expert [...] but I could see the well-reasoned logic of Thompson's argument. And, if all those delegates in Nagoya could read this and note that just $5 billion (US) could solve the most urgent conservation problem, they might be won over, too."

- Resource Magazine - November 2010

"Closing with reasons to be cheerful, it offers a fresh and fascinating look at a subject of increasing importance."

- Positive News - Autumn 2010

"By putting the focus only on what nature can do for us, Thompson leaves open to possibilities that ecosystems that do not deliver sufficient services might be thrown out with all the biodiversity that they contain."

- Nature - December 2010

"This readable book persuasively explains the calamity of the modern biodiversity crisis and presents a thoughtful analysis of how best to conserve the world's species."

- Plant Life - April 2011

Dr. Ken Thompson is Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Senior Lecturer of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. He is author of several books, including The Books of Weeds (Dorling Kindersley), An Ear to the Ground: Understanding Your Garden (Eden Project Books), No Nettles Required: The reassuring truth about wildlife gardening (Eden Project Books), and co-author of The Ecology of Seeds (Cambridge University Press).

Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781900322867
Format: 216mm x 138mm

BISAC Code:  NAT011000, SCI000000, SCI088000
Imprint: Green Books

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