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Sustaining Life: How Our Health Depends on Biodiversity


Edited and written by the Center’s Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein, with contributions by over 100 leading scientists, Sustaining Life presents a comprehensive—and sobering—view of how human medicines, biomedical research, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, and the production of food, bothon land and in the oceans, depend on biodiversity. Sustaining Life draws on the latest research, but is written in language a general reader can easily understand. Published by Oxford University Press in 2008, the award-winning book will appear in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic editions.


Sustaining Life has received numerous accolades for its rigorous review of biodiversity science and its unique exploration of the role of the natural world in human health. Former Vice President Al Gore said Sustaining Life is “the most complete and powerful argument I have seen for the importance of preserving biodiversity” and Professor Don Kennedy, former Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, said the book is “the best work ever on what biodiversity means to human health.” 

The book has also been named “Best Biology Book of 2008” by the Library Journal, along with Bert Hölldobler’s and Edward O. Wilson’s book The Superorganism.

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January 1, 2008