|Mending the Web of Life: Chinese Medicine and Species Conservation
by Elizabeth Call
Mending the Web of Life: Chinese Medicine and Species Conservation is a book for students and practitioners of Chinese medicine, conservationists and anyone interested in endangered animals and plants used in the Chinese materia medica. It begins by providing an overview of international conservation agreements, the concept of sustainable use and identification and nomenclature and their impact on the trade of endangered medicinal species. By using philosophical ideas of the medicine itself as a motivation for protection, it offers a paradigm for conservation that can be understood and supported by practitioners of Chinese medicine from any culture or country. Mending the Web of Life also presents profiles that include the distribution, biology, threats and conservation strategies of these species, which will enable the reader to appreciate them beyond their medicinal use as unique and valuable life forms in their own right. It also provides the results of a peer reviewed, survey of practitioners on substitutions and replacements for these species in traditional formulas. There is a chapter on the importance of cultivation in conserving medicinal plant species, and also on United States Laws and Treaties that govern their import or export. Finally, there is a list of suggested actions the reader can take that will instill hope and a sense of direction for medicinal species conservation. Ultimately, the model for protection outlined in Mending the Web of Life can be applied to any species threatened by extinction and helps humans gain perspective on their responsibility in preserving biodiversity for the health and well being of people as well as the Earth.