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Building Inclusive STEM Collections: Books by BIPOC Authors (October 2022): Ecology

By Hilary Dorsch Wong, Katherine A. Hicks, and David Kornreich


We were fortunate to find several relatively accessible books on ecology within our project scope. Ecosystems of California, edited by Harold Mooney and Erika Zavaleta, is a comprehensive overview covering all ecosystems in California (marine, aquatic, and terrestrial) while also addressing drivers that influence those ecosystems, biotic patterns, policy and stewardship, and the influence of Native communities, among other topics. The writing is accessible and the book features extensive color illustrations, photographs, and charts. While the California book covers all aspects of ecology within a state, An Integrative Approach to Successional Dynamics adopts a narrower geographic and topical focus, yet aims to create theory with broader application. Authors Scott Meiners, Steward Pickett, and Mary Cadenasso offer a new theoretical framework for understanding successional dynamics, testing that framework against empirical data. In their view, ecology has done well when describing “one-driver” approaches, but theory has been less effective when considering multiple drivers. These authors offer an integrative framework to organize drivers and contingencies into patterns, so that ecologists can more correctly hypothesize which factors will be dominant in various situations. They present data gathered over more than half a century as part of the Buell-Small Succession Study, which examined a former agricultural field in New Jersey. Although the authors go deep into the weeds of succession, they adopt an engaging writing style that can be accessible to advanced undergraduates while also appealing to graduate students and faculty.