Gopal B., Junk W.J. & Davis J.A. (Eds). 2001 - Biodiversity in wetlands : assessment, function and conservation, Volume 2. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands : 311 p. ISBN 90-5782-087-0. Euro 80.00/US$ 76.00 - Review printed in Internat. Rev. Hydrobiol., 88(2) : 233-235.
This book is the second part of the publishing work dedicated to wetland´s biodiversity by Gopal, Junk and Davis. We remember that this work was initiated to continue the discussions started during the Vth International Wetlands Conference held in September 22-28, 1996, Perth, Australia.
In at least two respects, this second volume is the expected supplement of the first volume already printed by Backhuys Publishers in 2000.
First, it extends the discussion to some wetlands not yet considered in the first volume such as fen landscapes, coastal plain wetlands and "pantanales", as well as to other geographical regions of the world (Afro-tropical, South Asia, South America). In the preface, the content of each contribution is summarized by the editors, which gives a sound overview about the addressed topics. As in the first volume, some chapters provide useful results from detailed case studies while others propose discussions based on bibliographic research and authors opinion. Once again, many facets of wetlands biodiversity are dealt with: factors regulating biodiversity, long term changes, anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity, restoration, conservation and management of wetlands with regard to biodiversity preservation. The function of the biodiversity is also discussed in light of its social aspect in an interesting article by Carolina Joana da Silva et al. Overall, a broad range of plants and various animal groups are covered by the authors.
Second, the editors provide a precise and analytical synthesis of the state of the art about biodiversity in wetlands. It is highlighted that factors creating, influencing, and threatening the biodiversity of wetlands are quiet well identified, while little is actually known about the role of biodiversity in wetland functioning. In the same way, while the need for wetland conservation is a commonly accepted idea, it appears that little is actually done to restore and protect their biodiversity. It is also recognized that we are far away from being able to evaluate the overall biodiversity of wetlands as species identification of a number group of organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, lacks far behind.
To conclude, this second volume fulfills the objectives initially stated by the editors in providing a synthesis of both available and lacking knowledge about biodiversity in wetlands. Moreover, it provides substantial information and a basic for reflection and discussion, besides suggestions for future research needs. I once again liked the handy book format and the already so appreciated aesthetic layout of the first volume. Unfortunately the text of this second volume suffers from numerous typographic mistakes.
Finally, I have to point out that because of their complementary content, the two volumes have to be regarded as two parts of one single unit. Having both now, it gives us a rather complete picture of various aspects of wetlands biodiversity. There is no doubt that this publication mostly meets good scientific standards. I would recommend it.