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Life Out of Bounds:
Bioinvasion in a Borderless World

by Chris Bright. W.W. Norton. 1998. 288 pp. $13
ISBN: 393318141

What happens when all the natural boundaries that separated species around the world for millions of years are removed, willy-nilly, in the blink of an evolutionary eye? Out of my window in northern California I see "open space" with Australian eucalyptus, South American pampas grass, and French broom, all living within a matrix of wild oats from Europe. On the asphalt below, the suffering nightcrawlers, crushed brown snails, and potential parasites in the fresh dog doo are all descended from recent Old World immigrants, as am I.

Clearly things have gotten a bit mixed up, and it's not all pretty. The question is, does this homogenization of the world's biota matter, and if so what can be done about it? Life Out of Bounds is one of best modern surveys on bioinvasion. Very readable, and reasonably priced, this book is for any earthling wanting a fuller understanding of life in the Homogocene.

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