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Wilderness - Russell Mittermeier



Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ACCORDING to the English dictionary (Collins Gem) wilderness is, by definition, desert, waste place; state of desolation or confusion.

And its companion Thesaurus adds jungle, waste, wasteland and wild to the list - words that do little or no justice to Earth's last wild places as presented by Cemex in their modestly entitled tome, Wilderness.

Cemex, as well as being an international cement company, is a respected leader in the field of conservation and has worked alongside Agrupacion Sierra Madre and Conservation International to produce this magnificent book which, by its very nature, highlights and thereby promotes their cause.

So why, might you ask, is conservation, particularly of Earth's wild places, so important?

Described as 'the last great storehouses of biodiversity', wilderness encompasses 'the species, ecosystems and ecological processes that make our planet what it is', and without which, it would be a poorer place.

There are, of course, the scientific explanations, but the aesthetic appeal to mankind has not been overlooked and is abundantly clear in the book's wonderful compilation of truly outstanding photographs.

Suffice to say that images from the world's best photographers have been included, for to mention only a handful by name, would be a gross injustice to the rest.

And the range is formidable. Everything from the simplest creature to the most spectacular scenery on Earth is depicted, as are the peoples whose lives depend on both, making it a fitting testament to the symbiotic nature of conservation and biodiversity.

Wilderness is a BIG book and like Volcanoes, not one meant for curling up with in an armchair. It's much too large and heavy for that.

To be fully appreciated, a table and good light are essential, for only then, can its true potential be realized.

And the rewards? Many hours of pleasure.

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