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The Arctic is an Ecosystem
by Bill Heal
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Key References
  AMAP (1997) Arctic Pollution Issues: A State of the Arctic Environment Report. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo. 188pp. Available on the AMAP web site (
A beautifully written and well illustrated summary of the Arctic system, its physical pathways, ecology and people (first 70 pages). Followed by understanding of how different pollutants enter the system, are transferred within it and the impacts on the system and on Humans. The main source for many of the figures.
  Chapin et al. (1992) Arctic Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: An Ecophysiological Perspective. Academic Press. 467pp.
For the technically minded. This is still one of the best series of papers on how Arctic organisms will respond to climate change. Good general introductory chapters on the Arctic System; followed by carbon, water and nutrient dynamics; then interactions; and summary. A connected series of papers which build up to thoughtful synthesis.
  Chapin, F.S & Korner, C. (Eds.) (1995) Arctic and Alpine Biodiversity: Patterns, Causes and Ecosystem Consequences. Ecological Studies Vo.113. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, New York, London.
A comprehensive view of the diversity of organisms, their distribution, adaptations, dynamics and interactions. Useful for the specialist but also provides an insight into the underestimated diversity of species and also provides illuminating comparisons with Alpine environments - another cryosphere.
  Chernov, Yu.I. (1980) Zhizn' tundry. Izdatel'stvo. Mysl. English translation by D. Love (1985). The living tundra. Cambridge University Press. 213pp.
A thorough and balanced insight into the biology of northern lands with detailed ecology of the diversity of species, how they interact and how they are adapted to their environments. Includes excellent descriptions of the physical environment and the soil dynamics. Written by one of the Arctic experts in a highly readable form. (Available in paperback).
  Fogg, G.E. (1998). The Biology of Polar Habitats. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 263pp.
An authoritative scientific comparison of Arctic and Antarctic environments and ecology. Geoffrey Fogg covers all the major habitats from personal experience and briefly reviews the influence of mankind on polar regions. Not an easy read but worth the effort.
  Kurlansky, M (1997) Cod. A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. Penguin Books. 294pp.
Not strictly Arctic but a fascinating account of how different nations exploited cod; how it changed their economies, caused wars, adapted cultures. An unlimited supply which underpinned the seas ecology as well as the nations - and eventually crashed. The chapters move from place to place and time to time building a fascinating mosaic. A superb lesson in Unsustainable Use.
  Lovelock, J (2000) Gaia. A new Look at Life on Earth. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 148pp.
A creative, stimulating and credible vision of the Earth as a self-regulating system which has evolved over eons. A highly readable book by an eminent scientist, reprinted with a new preface (the first edition was published in 1979).
  Nuttall, Mark & Terry Callaghan (eds.) (2000). The Arctic: Environment, People, Policy. Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, 647pp.
A comprehensive coverage of the physical environment; land, freshwater and marine biology including human health; social and political dimensions; human impacts on the Arctic environment and the policy responses. The 22 chapters are written by 35 authorities from 8 different countries and give a balanced, in-depth coverage. An expensive but valuable source of information.
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The Arctic is an Ecosystem, by Bill Heal.
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