Red Data Birds in Britain: action for rare, threatened and important species. Edited by L. A. Batten, C. J. Bibby, P. Clement, G. D. Elliott & R. F. Porter. Illustrated by Ian Willis. T. & A. D. Poyser, London, 1990. 348 pages; 24 black-and-white plates; 118 line-drawings. £18.00.As sure as Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe have white rumps, you can tell a title from the Poyser imprint by its air of quiet authority--well designed, but not flash; fact-filled, but not turgid; and excellent value for money. It was almost a shock to find that a book which exudes these admirable qualities was written in response to an EC command. A series of Red Data books has been published since the mid 1960s, listing species of invertebrates, plants, birds and animals which are threatened with extinction on a global scale. Because of the wide scope of these books, produced to the specifications of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), many countries have also compiled their own Red Data books. These give detailed information on vulnerable species and their needs on a national, rather than a planetary scale, and are a useful stimulus to local conservation effort. The EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds, adopted by the European Council of Ministers in April 1979, sets its sights on such local action by obliging member states to prepare and keep under review national lists of threatened bird species.

Issue 10
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Inskipp, T
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