The Wolf's Tooth
Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades, and Biodiversity
Animals such as wolves, sea otters, and sharks exert a disproportionate influence on their environment; dramatic ecological consequences can result when they are removed from—or returned to—an ecosystem.
In The Wolf’s Tooth, scientist and author Cristina Eisenberg explores the concept of “trophic cascades” and the role of top predators in regulating ecosystems. Her fascinating and wide-ranging work provides clear explanations of the science surrounding keystone predators and considers how this notion can help provide practical solutions for restoring ecosystem health and functioning.
Eisenberg examines both general concepts and specific issues, sharing accounts from her own fieldwork to illustrate and bring to life the ideas she presents. She considers how resource managers can use knowledge about trophic cascades to guide recovery efforts, including how this science can be applied to move forward the bold vision of rewilding the North American continent. In the end, the author provides her own recommendations for local and landscape-scale applications of what has been learned about interactive food webs.
At their most fundamental level, trophic cascades are powerful stories about ecosystem processes—of predators and their prey, of what it takes to survive in a landscape, of the flow of nutrients. The Wolf’s Tooth is the first book to focus on the vital connection between trophic cascades and restoring biodiversity and habitats, and to do so in a way that is accessible to a diverse readership.
"A fascinating book. If you want to know more about the relationship between animals and the land they live in it's a worthwhile read with the potential to open many people's hearts, minds and eyes."
"Eisenberg is that rare writer who blends accessible descriptions of science with a lyrical sensitivity to the spiritual qualities of nature. Here, she uses these talents to present a highly readable summary of trophic cascades, the ripples felt through marine, terrestrial, and aquatic ecosystems when top predators are removed or reintroduced. The result of this blending of science and aesthetics is an engaging and even uplifting read. Highly recommended."
Introduction: Visitors from the North
PART ONE: Web of Life
Chapter One: Patterns in an Ecosystem
Chapter Two: Living in a Landscape of Fear: Trophic Cascades Mechanisms
Chapter Three: Origins: Aquatic Cascades
Chapter Four: Why the Earth Is Green: Terrestrial Cascades
Chapter Five: The Long View: Old-Growth Rain Forest Food Webs
PART TWO: Mending the Web
Chapter Six: All Our Relations: Trophic Cascades and the Diversity of Life
Chapter Seven: Creating Landscapes of Hope: Trophic Cascades and Ecological Restoration
Chapter Eight: Finding Common Ground: Trophic Cascades and Ecosystem Management
Epilogue: Lessons from 763