For two decades, paleoecologist David Burney and his wife, Lida
Pigott Burney, have led an excavation of Makauwahi Cave on the
island of Kaua'i, uncovering the fascinating variety of plants and
animals that have inhabited Hawaii throughout its history. From the
unique perspective of paleoecology--the study of ancient
environments--Burney has focused his investigations on the dramatic
ecological changes that began after the arrival of humans one
thousand years ago, detailing not only the environmental
degradation they introduced but also asking how and why this
destruction occurred and, most significantly, what might happen in
Using Kaua'i as an ecological prototype and drawing on the
author's adventures in Madagascar, Mauritius, and other exciting
locales, Burney examines highly pertinent theories about current
threats to endangered species, restoration of ecosystems, and how
people can work together to repair environmental damage elsewhere
on the planet. Intriguing illustrations, including a reconstruction
of the ancient ecological landscape of Kaua'i by the artist Julian
Hume, offer an engaging window into the ecological marvels of
another time. A fascinating adventure story of one man's life in
paleoecology, "Back to the Future in the Caves of Kaua"'"i" reveals
the excitement--and occasional frustrations--of a career spent
exploring what the past can tell us about the future.
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