The Best Ecology Books Of All-Time

The Best Ecology Books Of All-Time

“What are the best books about Ecology?” We looked at 198 of the top books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 10 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Ecology” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 150+ books, as well as the lists we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 10 Best Ecology Books



10 .) Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mother Nature Network
  • Goodreads

“Elizabeth Kolbert’s environmental classic Field Notes from a Catastrophe first developed out of a groundbreaking, National Magazine Award-winning three-part series in The New Yorker. She expanded it into a still-concise yet richly researched and damning book about climate change: a primer on the greatest challenge facing the world today.

But in the years since, the story has continued to develop; the situation has become more dire, even as our understanding grows. Now, Kolbert returns to the defining book of her career. She’ll add a chapter bringing things up-to-date on the existing text, plus she’ll add three new chapters–on ocean acidification, the tar sands, and a Danish town that’s gone carbon neutral–making it, again, a must-read for our moment.”

Purchase / Learn More



9 .) Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Mother Nature Network

In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a cabin by Walden Pond. With the intention of immersing himself in nature and distancing himself from the distractions of social life, Thoreau sustained his retreat for just over two years. More popular than ever, “Walden” is a paean to the virtues of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

Purchase / Learn More



8 .) The Theory of Ecology by Mark Vellend

Lists It Appears On:

  • Bioteaching
  • Dynamic Ecology

“A plethora of different theories, models, and concepts make up the field of community ecology. Amid this vast body of work, is it possible to build one general theory of ecological communities? What other scientific areas might serve as a guiding framework? As it turns out, the core focus of community ecology―understanding patterns of diversity and composition of biological variants across space and time―is shared by evolutionary biology and its very coherent conceptual framework, population genetics theory. The Theory of Ecological Communities takes this as a starting point to pull together community ecology’s various perspectives into a more unified whole.

Mark Vellend builds a theory of ecological communities based on four overarching processes: selection among species, drift, dispersal, and speciation. These are analogues of the four central processes in population genetics theory―selection within species, drift, gene flow, and mutation―and together they subsume almost all of the many dozens of more specific models built to describe the dynamics of communities of interacting species. The result is a theory that allows the effects of many low-level processes, such as competition, facilitation, predation, disturbance, stress, succession, colonization, and local extinction to be understood as the underpinnings of high-level processes with widely applicable consequences for ecological communities.”

Purchase / Learn More



7 .) The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Small Pond Science

Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Purchase / Learn More



6 .) Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators by William Stolzenburg

Lists It Appears On:

  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

For years, predators like snow leopards and white-tipped sharks have been disappearing from the top of the food chain, largely as a result of human action. Science journalist Will Stolzenburg reveals why and how their absence upsets the delicate balance of the world’s environment.

Purchase / Learn More



5 .) The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell

Lists It Appears On:

  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

“In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.”

Purchase / Learn More



4 .) Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Mother Nature Network

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.

Purchase / Learn More



3 .) A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mother Nature Network
  • Small Pond Science
  • Goodreads

These astonishing portraits of the natural world explore the breathtaking diversity of the unspoiled American landscape—the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. Conjuring up one extraordinary vision after another, Aldo Leopold takes readers with him on the road and through the seasons on a fantastic tour of our priceless natural resources, explaining the destructive effects humankind has had on the land and issuing a bold challenge to protect the world we love.

Purchase / Learn More



2 .) Elements of Ecology by Robert L. Smith, Thomas M. Smith, Graham C. Hickman, Susan M. Hickman

Lists It Appears On:

  • IASZoology
  • Learn 4 Good
  • Wiki.ezvid

Elements of Ecology, Ninth Edition continues to explain ecological processes clearly and concisely, with a greater emphasis on the relevance of ecology to everyday life and the human impact on ecosystems. This dramatically revised edition discusses issues of human ecology throughout the text and provides a greater variety of opportunities for students to learn, practice, and develop quantitative and analytical skills. Current research examples and other content updates are supported by more than 200 redesigned, full-color illustrations, graphs, and tables.

Purchase / Learn More



1 .) Fundamentals of Ecology by Eugene Odum, Gary W. Barrett

Lists It Appears On:

  • IASZoology
  • Learn 4 Good
  • Wiki.ezvid

The late Eugene Odum was a pioneer in systems ecology and is credited with bringing ecosystems into the mainstream public consciousness as well as into introductory college instruction. FUNDAMENTALS OF ECOLOGY was first published in 1953 and was the vehicle Odum used to educate a wide audience about ecological science. This Fifth Edition of FUNDAMENTALS OF ECOLOGY is co-authored by Odum’s protege Gary Barrett and represents the last academic text Odum produced. The text retains its classic holistic approach to ecosystem science, but incorporates and integrates an evolutionary approach as well. In keeping with a greater temporal/spatial approach to ecology, new chapters in landscape ecology, regional ecology, and global ecology have been added building on the levels-of-organization hierarchy. Also, a final chapter entitled “Statistical Thinking for Students of Ecology” provides a quantitative synthesis to the field of statistics. Contemporary and engaging, this text brings clarity and specificity to the study of ecology in the twenty-first century.

Purchase / Learn More




The 150+ Additional Best Ecology Books



 

# Books Authors Lists
(Titles Appear On 1 List Each)
11 A Biogeoscience Approach to Ecosystems Edward A. Johnson Bioteaching
12 A Critique for Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
13 A is for Activist Innosanto Nagara
Ecology Center
14 A Language Older Than Words Derrick Jensen Goodreads
15 A remarkable gift to environmental educators Bora Simmons Ecoliteracy
16 A Sting In The Tale
Small Pond Science
17 A text book of environmental sciences Purohit, S.S., Shammi, Q.J. & Agrawal, A.K. IASZoology
18 A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson Goodreads
19 A Whale for the Killing
Mother Nature Network
20 Afro-Vegan Bryant Terry
Ecology Center
21 Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance and Renewal Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
22 Alien Species Intervention J.K. Accinni
Best Science Fiction Books
23 Anachism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left: Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998 Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
24 Animal ecology and distribution of animals Rastogi, V.B. & Jayaraj, M.S. Animal ecology and distribution of animals. IASZoology
25 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver Goodreads
26 Annals of the Former World
Mother Nature Network
27 Art of Fermintation Sandor Ellix Katz
Ecology Center
28 Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame Beverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
29 Basic ecology Odum, E.P. IASZoology
30 Bay Area Forager Mia Ander and Kevin Feinstein
Ecology Center
31 Beak of the Finch
Small Pond Science
32 Braiding Sweetgrass
Small Pond Science
33 Cadillac Desert
Mother Nature Network
34 Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England William Cronon Goodreads
35 Concepts of Ecology Kormondy, E.J. Concepts of Ecology. IASZoology
36 Connects all the dots David Sobel Ecoliteracy
37 Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things William McDonough Goodreads
38 Create an Oasis with Greywater Art Ludwig
Ecology Center
39 Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future Bill McKibben Goodreads
40 Deschooling Our Lives Matt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
41 Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey Goodreads
42 Dune Frank Herbert Goodreads
43 Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet Bill McKibben Goodreads
44 Earth for Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of Corporate Greenwash Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
45 Earth in the Balance
Mother Nature Network
46 Eating the Alphabet Lois Ehlert
Ecology Center
47 Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience Janet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
48 Ecological Communities Donald R. Strong, Jr., Daniel Simberloff, Lawrence G. Abele, & Anne B. Thistle
Princeton University Press
49 Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement Anne E. Magurran
Princeton University Press
50 Ecological Models and Data in R Benjamin M. Bolker
Princeton University Press
51 Ecological Stoichiometry Robert W. Sterner & James J. Elser
Princeton University Press
52 Ecology (Third Edition) Wiki.ezvid
53 Ecology & Environmental biology Purohit, S.S. IASZoology
54 Ecology and environment Sharma, P.D. IASZoology
55 Ecology and field biology Smith, R.L. IASZoology
56 Ecology in Action Fred D. Singer Bioteaching
57 Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
Small Pond Science
58 Ecology of Urban Environments Kirsten M. Parris Bioteaching
59 Ecology, with special reference to animals and man Kendeigh, S.C. IASZoology
60
Ecology: Concepts and Applications,
Wiki.ezvid
61
Ecology: Pearson New International
Wiki.ezvid
62 Ecology: Principles and applications Chapman, J.L. & Reiss, M.J. IASZoology
63 Ecology: Science and practice Faurie, Claude et al. IASZoology
64
Ecology: The Economy of Nature
Wiki.ezvid
65 Ecology: The experimental analysis of distribution and abundance Krebs, Charles IASZoology
66 Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance: Hands-On Field Package Charles J. Krebs
Learn 4 Good
67 Ecotopia Ernest Callenbach
Best Science Fiction Books
68 Elements of ecology Klarke, G.L. IASZoology
69 Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization Derrick Jensen Goodreads
70 Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance Derrick Jensen Goodreads
71 Envionmental Science Wright, R.T. & Nebel, B.J. IASZoology
72 Environmental biology and toxicology Sharma, P.D. IASZoology
73 Environmental pollution: causes, effects and control Purohit, S.S. & Agrawal, A.K. IASZoology
74 Environmental science McKinney, M.L. & Schoch, R.M. IASZoology
75 Essentials of Ecology Jr., G. Tyler Miller
Learn 4 Good
76 Everywhere All the Time: A New Deschooling Reader Matt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
77 Evolutionary ecology Pianka, Eric R. IASZoology
78 Fallen Angels Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn
Best Science Fiction Books
79 Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life George Monbiot Goodreads
80 Field and Laboratory Methods Wiki.ezvid
81 Field Day: Getting Out of School Matt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
82 Fine, timely, and needed The San Francisco Chronicle Ecoliteracy
83 Flight Behavior Barbara Kingsolver Goodreads
84 Foraging Theory David W. Stephens & John R. Krebs
Princeton University Press
85
Foundations of Ecology: Classic Papers with Commentaries
Dynamic Ecology
86 Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth James E. Lovelock Goodreads
87 Gene Traders: Biotechnology, World Trade, and the Globalization of Hunger Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
88 General Animal ecology Ananthakrishnan & Viswanathan, T.R. IASZoology
89 Geographical Ecology Robert H. MacArthur
Princeton University Press
90 Global Ecology in Human Perspective Southwick, Charles H. IASZoology
91 Global environmental issues: A climatological approach Kemp, David D. IASZoology
92 Golden Gate Gardening Pam Peirce
Ecology Center
93 Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond Goodreads
94 Important Frances Moore Lappé Ecoliteracy
95 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Michael Pollan Goodreads
96 Infochemicals: Invisible bonds binding creatures great and small Yuvaraj Ranganathan Bioteaching
97 Inspired, substantive, and visionary Booklist Ecoliteracy
98 Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit Daniel Quinn Goodreads
99 Lab Girl
Small Pond Science
100 Last Chance to See Douglas Adams Goodreads
101 Learning Our Way Out: Adult Education at a Crossroads Matthias Finger
Institute For Social Ecology
102 Living in the environment—Principles, connections and solutions Miller, G. Tyler IASZoology
103 Log of the Sea of Cortez
Small Pond Science
104 Merchants of Doubt
Mother Nature Network
105 Messages from Islands: A Global Biodiversity Tour Ilkka Hanski Bioteaching
106 Method in Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
107 Modeling Nature
Dynamic Ecology
108 Mollie Katzen’s Recipes: Soups Mollie Katzen
Ecology Center
109 Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World Paul Stamets Goodreads
110 Natural Capitalism Paul Hawken Goodreads
111 Nature’s Confession J.L. Morin
Best Science Fiction Books
112 Neptune’s Revenge
Mother Nature Network
113 Never Cry Wolf
Mother Nature Network
114 Never Out of Season
Small Pond Science
115 On the Origin of Species
Dynamic Ecology
116 One Size Does Not Fit All Beverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
117 Our Synthetic Environment Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
118 Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Annie Dillard Goodreads
119 Plant Ecology in the Middle East Ahmad Hegazy Bioteaching
120 Post-Scarcity Anarchism Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
121 Principles of environmental science, inquiry and applications Cunningham, W.P. & Cunningham, M.A. IASZoology
122 Quantitative Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Integrating models with data (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution) Otso Ovaskainen Bioteaching
123 Ravens in Winter
Small Pond Science
124 Re-Enchanting Humanity: A Defense of the Human Spirit Against Anti-humanism, Misanthropy, Mysticism, and Primitivism Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
125 Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
126 Resource Competition and Community Structure David Tilman
Princeton University Press
127 Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics Janet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
128 Science in the Capital Kim Stanley Robinson
Best Science Fiction Books
129 Seamlessly and elegantly communicated NAAEE Communicator Ecoliteracy
130 Secret Life of Dust
Mother Nature Network
131 Serendipity Estes
Small Pond Science
132 Ship Breaker Paolo Bacigalupi
Best Science Fiction Books
133 Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
134 Social Ecology and Communalism Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
135 Spatial Ecology David Tilman & Peter Kareiva
Princeton University Press
136 Stability and Complexity in Model Ecosystems Robert M. May
Princeton University Press
137 Start with Soil: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Improving Soil for Higher Yields, More Beautiful Flowers, Grace Gershuny
Institute For Social Ecology
138 The Background of Ecology
Dynamic Ecology
139 The best book of its kind Michael Pollan Ecoliteracy
140 The Biology of Deserts (Biology of Habitats Series) David Ward Bioteaching
141 The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World Michael Pollan Goodreads
142 The Color of Distance Amy Thomson
Best Science Fiction Books
143 The Coming of the Global Superstorm Art Bell and Whitley Strieber
Best Science Fiction Books
144 The Diversity of Life Edward O. Wilson Goodreads
145 The Earth Brokers: Power, Politics and World Development Matthias Finger
Institute For Social Ecology
146 The Ecological Detective Ray Hilborn & Marc Mangel
Princeton University Press
147 The Ecological Rift John Bellamy Foster Goodreads
148 The Ecology of Everyday Life Chaia Heller
Institute For Social Ecology
149 The Ecology of Freedom Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
150 The Empty Ocean
Mother Nature Network
151 The End of Nature Bill McKibben Goodreads
152 The Future Of Life Edward O. Wilson Goodreads
153 The Green Alternative: Creating an Ecological Future Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
154 The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World Peter Wohlleben Goodreads
155 The Idea of Biodiversity
Dynamic Ecology
156 The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World Andrea Wulf Goodreads
157 The Limits of the City Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
158 The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update Donella H. Meadows Goodreads
159 The Lorax Dr. Seuss Goodreads
160 The Modern Crisis Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
161 The Monkey Wrench Gang Edward Abbey Goodreads
162 The Murray Bookchin Reader Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
163 The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Michael Pollan Goodreads
164 The One-Straw Revolution Masanobu Fukuoka Goodreads
165 The Origin of Species Charles Darwin Goodreads
166 The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
167 The Politics of Social Ecology Janet Biehl
Institute For Social Ecology
168 The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
169 The Science of Ecology Richard Brewer
Learn 4 Good
170 The Sea Around Us Rachel Carson Goodreads
171 The Serengeti Rules
Small Pond Science
172 The Song Of The Dodo: Island Biogeography In An Age Of Extinctions David Quammen Goodreads
173 The Soul of Soil Grace Gershuny
Institute For Social Ecology
174 The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
175 The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World David Abram Goodreads
176 The Theory of Island Biogeography Robert H. MacArthur & Edward O. Wilson
Princeton University Press
177 The Theory of Sex Allocation Eric L. Charnov
Princeton University Press
178 The Third Revolution Vol. 1-4 Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
179 The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography Stephen P. Hubbell
Princeton University Press
180 The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture Wendell Berry Goodreads
181 The Water-Wise Home Laura Allen
Ecology Center
182 The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems Fritjof Capra Goodreads
183 The Wild Life of Our Bodies
Small Pond Science
184 The World Without Us Alan Weisman Goodreads
185 The Year of the Flood Margaret Atwood
Best Science Fiction Books
186 Theory-Based Ecology: A Darwinian approach Liz Pasztor Bioteaching
187 This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate Naomi Klein Goodreads
188 To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936 Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
189 Toward an Ecological Society Murray Bookchin
Institute For Social Ecology
190 Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change Brian Tokar
Institute For Social Ecology
191 Under the Sea Wind Rachel Carson Goodreads
192 Urban Homesteading Rachel Kaplan
Ecology Center
193 Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture Christopher Shein
Ecology Center
194 Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better Matt Hern
Institute For Social Ecology
195 Watermind M.M. Buckner
Best Science Fiction Books
196 What Kind of Name is That Beverly Naidus
Institute For Social Ecology
197 Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival Bernd Heinrich Goodreads
198 Worms Eat My Garbage Mary Appelhof
Ecology Center


13 Best Ecology Book Sources/Lists



Source Article
Best Science Fiction Books Ecological Science Fiction
Bioteaching Top 2016 Ecology Books
Dynamic Ecology Books that all ecology grad students should read
Ecoliteracy ECOLOGICAL LITERACY: EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD
Ecology Center BEST SELLING BOOKS
Goodreads Popular Ecology Books
IASZoology Books on Ecology & Environmental Science
Institute For Social Ecology Published Books
Learn 4 Good Ecology Books for College & University Students
Mother Nature Network The 5 best environmental books of all time
Princeton University Press Dynamic Ecology is searching for the best books in the field
Small Pond Science Good popular books about ecology?
Wiki.ezvid The 7 Best Ecology Textbooks

 

You Might Also Like