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A Natural History of the Islands and Their People

Lying in the midst of the Arabian Sea on ancient maritime trading routes, Socotra has long held a fascination for itinerant travelers. In 2003, the islands became a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, and in 2005 were nominated as a World Heritage site. While documenting Socotra's geology, biodiversity, ecology, human history and culture, the book also highlights aspects of island biogeography, evolution and conservation. Written in an easy-to-read style, with Arabic abstracts for each chapter, this book will enthrall the educated public and address the increasing demand for a detailed guide to Socotra by natural and social scientists, conservationists, decision-makers, visitors and armchair travelers. By purchasing this book, readers will also contribute to the Socotra Conservation Fund, supporting conservation and community-based development initiatives.


“...It is a superb and even inspirational book....” - Edward O. Wilson University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University

“...The Socotra islands, in the Arabian Sea off the Horn of Africa, are home to many plant and animal species found nowhere else...First settled by man several thousand years ago, this unique environment is populated by a small group of fishers and pastoralists. In 2003, Socotra became a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. Socotra: A Natural History of the Islands and their People by Catherine Cheung and Lyndon DeVantier (Socotra Conservation Fund/Odyssey) is the first full natural history of the flora, fauna and people of these islands. ...” - Nature (Vol. 445, 4 Jan 07)

“...it's a splendid achievement - rich, fascinating, scholarly, wonderfully comprehensive and beautifully produced....” - Tim Mackintosh-Smith, winner of the Thomas Cook / Daily Telegraph prize for Yemen: Travels in Dictionaryland (1997), and author of Travels with A Tangerine (2001) and The Hall of a Thousand Columns (2005)

“...When an advance copy ... arrived at my door, I was quite frankly gobsmacked. I had not known what to expect, but I had not expected such a magnificently presented, fabulously illustrated and so wide-covering and exhaustively researched a tome as this. It is without doubt the definitive study of the unique natural history of this extraordinary island and its no less unique people in a moment of change - whether at ground level, above ground, below ground, or in the depths of the surrounding sea, past, present and future. And the range of its illustrations - from close-ups of widow spiders and paper moths to wide-angle panoramas of the ancient landscape and its oceanic setting, and Socotrans past and present - is unsurpassed. But this is not just the definitive study, and a synthesis and treasure trove of the combined knowledge of divers and researchers in the last decade; it is also unsurpassed as a celebration of these precious things, and a rallying bugle-call for their understanding and conservation. Perhaps only two other books in the island's history come anywhere near to it as volumes to treasure in terms of both their invaluable definitive text and their wonderful illustrations - Dr Henry Forbes' pioneer The Natural History of Sokotra-and Abd-el-Kuri' of 1903, and more recently Dr Anthony Miller's and Dr Miranda Morris's Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago. If you value Socotra you will treasure this book - buy it now while stocks last ! ...” - Douglas Botting, Leader, Oxford University Expedition to Socotra 1956, author of 'Island of the Dragon's Blood' (1958) - the first account of the island since the 19th century (and still in print !)

“...The book is a stunner. It is rare to find such a detailed study of a part of the Middle East that is so poorly known in the 'West' ...” - Dr. David Lawrence, The Australian National University

“...I love the Middle East where I have travelled widely for 40 years in search of birds. Socotra is a jewel of those travels and this book is a great and learned tribute to a truly remarkable island. ...” - Richard Porter, author of 'Birds of the Middle East' and 'BirdLife International's' Middle East adviser.

“...natural history in the Darwinian class. A unique and enchanting book...” - Work Boat World Magazine


+ UNESCO World Heritage Site

+ Renowned as the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean' for exceptional levels of endemism

+ Fascinating, little-known Arabian islands en route the historic maritime Silk Road

+ Showcases successful local approaches to conservation and sustainable development

+ Includes Arabic abstracts for all chapters and incorporates historic materials and quotes

+ Superb natural history data for the dedicated student of the natural world

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Socotra - A Natural History of the Islands and Their People


Catherine Cheung - Author
Lyndon DeVantier - Author
Kay Van Damme - Science Editor


Publication Date : December 2006
Category : Nature
Paperback ISBN 10 : 9622177700
Paperback ISBN 13 : 978-962-217-770-3
Edition : First Edition
Paperback Price : US$ 59.95, GB£ 39.50
Format : 8.5in x 11in
Pages : 396
Photos : 400
Maps : 10

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