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The Best Ecology Books Of All-Time

The Best Ecology Books Of All-Time

“What are the best books about Ecology?” We looked at 198 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 10 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Ecology” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 150+ books, as well as the lists we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 10 Best Ecology Books



10 .) Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mother Nature Network
  • Goodreads

“Elizabeth Kolbert’s environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe first developed out of a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in The New Yorker. She expanded it into a still-concise yet richly researched and damning book about climate change: a primer on the greatest challenge facing the world today.

But in the years since, the story has continued to develop; the situation has become more dire, even as our understanding grows. Now, Kolbert returns to the defining book of her career. She’ll add a chapter bringing things up-to-date on the existing text, plus she’ll add three new chapters–on ocean acidification, the tar sands, and a Danish town that’s gone carbon neutral–making it, again, a must-read for our moment.”

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9 .) Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Mother Nature Network

In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a cabin by Walden Pond. With the intention of immersing himself in nature and distancing himself from the distractions of social life, Thoreau sustained his retreat for just over two years. More popular than ever, “Walden” is a paean to the virtues of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

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8 .) The Theory of Ecology by Mark Vellend

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bioteaching
  • Dynamic Ecology

“A plethora of different theories, models, and concepts make up the field of community ecology. Amid this vast body of work, is it possible to build one general theory of ecological communities? What other scientific areas might serve as a guiding framework? As it turns out, the core focus of community ecology―understanding patterns of diversity and composition of biological variants across space and time―is shared by evolutionary biology and its very coherent conceptual framework, population genetics theory. The Theory of Ecological Communities takes this as a starting point to pull together community ecology’s various perspectives into a more unified whole.

Mark Vellend builds a theory of ecological communities based on four overarching processes: selection among species, drift, dispersal, and speciation. These are analogues of the four central processes in population genetics theory―selection within species, drift, gene flow, and mutation―and together they subsume almost all of the many dozens of more specific models built to describe the dynamics of communities of interacting species. The result is a theory that allows the effects of many low-level processes, such as competition, facilitation, predation, disturbance, stress, succession, colonization, and local extinction to be understood as the underpinnings of high-level processes with widely applicable consequences for ecological communities.”

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7 .) The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Small Pond Science

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

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6 .) Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators by William Stolzenburg

Lists It Appears On:

  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

For years, predators like snow leopards and white-tipped sharks have been disappearing from the top of the food chain, largely as a result of human action. Science journalist Will Stolzenburg reveals why and how their absence upsets the delicate balance of the world’s environment.

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5 .) The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell

Lists It Appears On:

  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

“In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.”

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4 .) Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Mother Nature Network

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.

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3 .) A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mother Nature Network
  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

These astonishing portraits of the natural world explore the breathtaking diversity of the unspoiled American landscape—the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. Conjuring up one extraordinary vision after another, Aldo Leopold takes readers with him on the road and through the seasons on a fantastic tour of our priceless natural resources, explaining the destructive effects humankind has had on the land and issuing a bold challenge to protect the world we love.

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2 .) Elements of Ecology by Robert L. Smith, Thomas M. Smith, Graham C. Hickman, Susan M. Hickman

Lists It Appears On:

  • IASZoology
  • Learn 4 Good
  • Wiki.ezvid

Elements of Ecology, Ninth Edition continues to explain ecological processes clearly and concisely, with a greater emphasis on the relevance of ecology to everyday life and the human impact on ecosystems. This dramatically revised edition discusses issues of human ecology throughout the text and provides a greater variety of opportunities for students to learn, practice, and develop quantitative and analytical skills. Current research examples and other content updates are supported by more than 200 redesigned, full-color illustrations, graphs, and tables.

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1 .) Fundamentals of Ecology by Eugene Odum, Gary W. Barrett

Lists It Appears On:

  • IASZoology
  • Learn 4 Good
  • Wiki.ezvid

The late Eugene Odum was a pioneer in systems ecology and is credited with bringing ecosystems into the mainstream public consciousness as well as into introductory college instruction. FUNDAMENTALS OF ECOLOGY was first published in 1953 and was the vehicle Odum used to educate a wide audience about ecological science. This Fifth Edition of FUNDAMENTALS OF ECOLOGY is co-authored by Odum’s protege Gary Barrett and represents the last academic text Odum produced. The text retains its classic holistic approach to ecosystem science, but incorporates and integrates an evolutionary approach as well. In keeping with a greater temporal/spatial approach to ecology, new chapters in landscape ecology, regional ecology, and global ecology have been added building on the levels-of-organization hierarchy. Also, a final chapter entitled “Statistical Thinking for Students of Ecology” provides a quantitative synthesis to the field of statistics. Contemporary and engaging, this text brings clarity and specificity to the study of ecology in the twenty-first century.

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The 150+ Additional Best Ecology Books



 

#BooksAuthorsLists
(Titles Appear On 1 List Each)
11A Biogeoscience Approach to EcosystemsEdward A. JohnsonBioteaching
12A Critique for Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
13A is for ActivistInnosanto Nagara
Ecology Center
14A Language Older Than WordsDerrick JensenGoodreads
15A remarkable gift to environmental educatorsBora SimmonsEcoliteracy
16A Sting In The Tale
Small Pond Science
17A text book of environmental sciencesPurohit, S.S., Shammi, Q.J. & Agrawal, A.K.IASZoology
18A Walk in the WoodsBill BrysonGoodreads
19A Whale for the Killing
Mother Nature Network
20Afro-VeganBryant Terry
Ecology Center
21Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance and RenewalBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
22Alien Species InterventionJ.K. Accinni
Best Science Fiction Books
23Anachism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left: Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
24Animal ecology and distribution of animalsRastogi, V.B. & Jayaraj, M.S. Animal ecology and distribution of animals.IASZoology
25Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food LifeBarbara KingsolverGoodreads
26Annals of the Former World
Mother Nature Network
27Art of FermintationSandor Ellix Katz
Ecology Center
28Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the FrameBeverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
29Basic ecologyOdum, E.P.IASZoology
30Bay Area ForagerMia Ander and Kevin Feinstein
Ecology Center
31Beak of the Finch
Small Pond Science
32Braiding Sweetgrass
Small Pond Science
33Cadillac Desert
Mother Nature Network
34Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New EnglandWilliam CrononGoodreads
35Concepts of EcologyKormondy, E.J. Concepts of Ecology.IASZoology
36Connects all the dotsDavid SobelEcoliteracy
37Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make ThingsWilliam McDonoughGoodreads
38Create an Oasis with GreywaterArt Ludwig
Ecology Center
39Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable FutureBill McKibbenGoodreads
40Deschooling Our LivesMatt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
41Desert SolitaireEdward AbbeyGoodreads
42DuneFrank HerbertGoodreads
43Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New PlanetBill McKibbenGoodreads
44Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate GreenwashBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
45Earth in the Balance
Mother Nature Network
46Eating the AlphabetLois Ehlert
Ecology Center
47Ecofascism: Lessons from the German ExperienceJanet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
48Ecological CommunitiesDonald R. Strong, Jr., Daniel Simberloff, Lawrence G. Abele, & Anne B. Thistle
Princeton University Press
49Ecological Diversity and Its MeasurementAnne E. Magurran
Princeton University Press
50Ecological Models and Data in RBenjamin M. Bolker
Princeton University Press
51Ecological StoichiometryRobert W. Sterner & James J. Elser
Princeton University Press
52Ecology (Third Edition)Wiki.ezvid
53Ecology & Environmental biologyPurohit, S.S.IASZoology
54Ecology and environmentSharma, P.D.IASZoology
55Ecology and field biologySmith, R.L.IASZoology
56Ecology in ActionFred D. SingerBioteaching
57Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
Small Pond Science
58Ecology of Urban EnvironmentsKirsten M. ParrisBioteaching
59Ecology, with special reference to animals and manKendeigh, S.C.IASZoology
60
Ecology: Concepts and Applications,
Wiki.ezvid
61
Ecology: Pearson New International
Wiki.ezvid
62Ecology: Principles and applicationsChapman, J.L. & Reiss, M.J.IASZoology
63Ecology: Science and practiceFaurie, Claude et al.IASZoology
64
Ecology: The Economy of Nature
Wiki.ezvid
65Ecology: The experimental analysis of distribution and abundanceKrebs, CharlesIASZoology
66Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance: Hands-On Field PackageCharles J. Krebs
Learn 4 Good
67EcotopiaErnest Callenbach
Best Science Fiction Books
68Elements of ecologyKlarke, G.L.IASZoology
69Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of CivilizationDerrick JensenGoodreads
70Endgame, Vol. 2: ResistanceDerrick JensenGoodreads
71Envionmental ScienceWright, R.T. & Nebel, B.J.IASZoology
72Environmental biology and toxicologySharma, P.D.IASZoology
73Environmental pollution: causes, effects and controlPurohit, S.S. & Agrawal, A.K.IASZoology
74Environmental scienceMcKinney, M.L. & Schoch, R.M.IASZoology
75Essentials of EcologyJr., G. Tyler Miller
Learn 4 Good
76Everywhere All the Time: A New Deschooling ReaderMatt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
77Evolutionary ecologyPianka, Eric R.IASZoology
78Fallen AngelsLarry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn
Best Science Fiction Books
79Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human LifeGeorge MonbiotGoodreads
80Field and Laboratory MethodsWiki.ezvid
81Field Day: Getting Out of SchoolMatt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
82Fine, timely, and neededThe San Francisco ChronicleEcoliteracy
83Flight BehaviorBarbara KingsolverGoodreads
84Foraging TheoryDavid W. Stephens & John R. Krebs
Princeton University Press
85
Foundations of Ecology: Classic Papers with Commentaries
Dynamic Ecology
86Gaia: A New Look at Life on EarthJames E. LovelockGoodreads
87Gene Traders: Biotechnology, World Trade, and the Globalization of HungerBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
88General Animal ecologyAnanthakrishnan & Viswanathan, T.R.IASZoology
89Geographical EcologyRobert H. MacArthur
Princeton University Press
90Global Ecology in Human PerspectiveSouthwick, Charles H.IASZoology
91Global environmental issues: A climatological approachKemp, David D.IASZoology
92Golden Gate GardeningPam Peirce
Ecology Center
93Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human SocietiesJared DiamondGoodreads
94ImportantFrances Moore LappéEcoliteracy
95In Defense of Food: An Eater’s ManifestoMichael PollanGoodreads
96Infochemicals: Invisible bonds binding creatures great and smallYuvaraj RanganathanBioteaching
97Inspired, substantive, and visionaryBooklistEcoliteracy
98Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and SpiritDaniel QuinnGoodreads
99Lab Girl
Small Pond Science
100Last Chance to SeeDouglas AdamsGoodreads
101Learning Our Way Out: Adult Education at a CrossroadsMatthias Finger
Institute For Social Ecology
102Living in the environment—Principles, connections and solutionsMiller, G. TylerIASZoology
103Log of the Sea of Cortez
Small Pond Science
104Merchants of Doubt
Mother Nature Network
105Messages from Islands: A Global Biodiversity TourIlkka HanskiBioteaching
106Method in Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
107Modeling Nature
Dynamic Ecology
108Mollie Katzen’s Recipes: SoupsMollie Katzen
Ecology Center
109Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the WorldPaul StametsGoodreads
110Natural CapitalismPaul HawkenGoodreads
111Nature’s ConfessionJ.L. Morin
Best Science Fiction Books
112Neptune’s Revenge
Mother Nature Network
113Never Cry Wolf
Mother Nature Network
114Never Out of Season
Small Pond Science
115On the Origin of Species
Dynamic Ecology
116One Size Does Not Fit AllBeverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
117Our Synthetic EnvironmentMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
118Pilgrim at Tinker CreekAnnie DillardGoodreads
119Plant Ecology in the Middle EastAhmad HegazyBioteaching
120Post-Scarcity AnarchismMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
121Principles of environmental science, inquiry and applicationsCunningham, W.P. & Cunningham, M.A.IASZoology
122Quantitative Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Integrating models with data (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution)Otso OvaskainenBioteaching
123Ravens in Winter
Small Pond Science
124Re-Enchanting Humanity: A Defense of the Human Spirit Against Anti-humanism, Misanthropy, Mysticism, and PrimitivismMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
125Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic EngineeringBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
126Resource Competition and Community StructureDavid Tilman
Princeton University Press
127Rethinking Ecofeminist PoliticsJanet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
128Science in the CapitalKim Stanley Robinson
Best Science Fiction Books
129Seamlessly and elegantly communicatedNAAEE CommunicatorEcoliteracy
130Secret Life of Dust
Mother Nature Network
131SerendipityEstes
Small Pond Science
132Ship BreakerPaolo Bacigalupi
Best Science Fiction Books
133Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable ChasmMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
134Social Ecology and CommunalismMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
135Spatial EcologyDavid Tilman & Peter Kareiva
Princeton University Press
136Stability and Complexity in Model EcosystemsRobert M. May
Princeton University Press
137Start with Soil: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Improving Soil for Higher Yields, More Beautiful Flowers,Grace Gershuny
Institute For Social Ecology
138The Background of Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
139The best book of its kindMichael PollanEcoliteracy
140The Biology of Deserts (Biology of Habitats Series)David WardBioteaching
141The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the WorldMichael PollanGoodreads
142The Color of DistanceAmy Thomson
Best Science Fiction Books
143The Coming of the Global SuperstormArt Bell and Whitley Strieber
Best Science Fiction Books
144The Diversity of LifeEdward O. WilsonGoodreads
145The Earth Brokers: Power, Politics and World DevelopmentMatthias Finger
Institute For Social Ecology
146The Ecological DetectiveRay Hilborn & Marc Mangel
Princeton University Press
147The Ecological RiftJohn Bellamy FosterGoodreads
148The Ecology of Everyday LifeChaia Heller
Institute For Social Ecology
149The Ecology of FreedomMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
150The Empty Ocean
Mother Nature Network
151The End of NatureBill McKibbenGoodreads
152The Future Of LifeEdward O. WilsonGoodreads
153The Green Alternative: Creating an Ecological FutureBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
154The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret WorldPeter WohllebenGoodreads
155The Idea of Biodiversity
Dynamic Ecology
156The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New WorldAndrea WulfGoodreads
157The Limits of the CityMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
158The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year UpdateDonella H. MeadowsGoodreads
159The LoraxDr. SeussGoodreads
160The Modern CrisisMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
161The Monkey Wrench GangEdward AbbeyGoodreads
162The Murray Bookchin ReaderMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
163The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsMichael PollanGoodreads
164The One-Straw RevolutionMasanobu FukuokaGoodreads
165The Origin of SpeciesCharles DarwinGoodreads
166The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical NaturalismMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
167The Politics of Social EcologyJanet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
168The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of CitizenshipMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
169The Science of EcologyRichard Brewer
Learn 4 Good
170The Sea Around UsRachel CarsonGoodreads
171The Serengeti Rules
Small Pond Science
172The Song Of The Dodo: Island Biogeography In An Age Of ExtinctionsDavid QuammenGoodreads
173The Soul of SoilGrace Gershuny
Institute For Social Ecology
174The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic YearsMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
175The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human WorldDavid AbramGoodreads
176The Theory of Island BiogeographyRobert H. MacArthur & Edward O. Wilson
Princeton University Press
177The Theory of Sex AllocationEric L. Charnov
Princeton University Press
178The Third Revolution Vol. 1-4Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
179The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and BiogeographyStephen P. Hubbell
Princeton University Press
180The Unsettling of America: Culture and AgricultureWendell BerryGoodreads
181The Water-Wise HomeLaura Allen
Ecology Center
182The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living SystemsFritjof CapraGoodreads
183The Wild Life of Our Bodies
Small Pond Science
184The World Without UsAlan WeismanGoodreads
185The Year of the FloodMargaret Atwood
Best Science Fiction Books
186Theory-Based Ecology: A Darwinian approachLiz PasztorBioteaching
187This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The ClimateNaomi KleinGoodreads
188To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
189Toward an Ecological SocietyMurray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
190Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social ChangeBrian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
191Under the Sea WindRachel CarsonGoodreads
192Urban HomesteadingRachel Kaplan
Ecology Center
193Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to PermacultureChristopher Shein
Ecology Center
194Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always BetterMatt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
195WatermindM.M. Buckner
Best Science Fiction Books
196What Kind of Name is ThatBeverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
197Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal SurvivalBernd HeinrichGoodreads
198Worms Eat My GarbageMary Appelhof
Ecology Center


13 Best Ecology Book Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Best Science Fiction Books Ecological Science Fiction
Bioteaching Top 2016 Ecology Books
Dynamic Ecology Books that all ecology grad students should read
Ecoliteracy ECOLOGICAL LITERACY: EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD
Ecology Center BEST SELLING BOOKS
Goodreads Popular Ecology Books
IASZoology Books on Ecology & Environmental Science
Institute For Social Ecology Published Books
Learn 4 Good Ecology Books for College & University Students
Mother Nature Network The 5 best environmental books of all time
Princeton University Press Dynamic Ecology is searching for the best books in the field
Small Pond Science Good popular books about ecology?
Wiki.ezvid The 7 Best Ecology Textbooks

 

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