Natural orders

18th November 1994 at 00:00
ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN ACTIVITY, By RSPB. General editor Judith Woodfield. 0 00 32 6 644 3, Collins Pounds 13.75. LEISURE RECREATION AND TOURISM, By Robert Prosser, Collins Pounds 9.25. 0 00326 645 1. These well organised, attractive books are for students of A-level geography and environmental studies. Dealing with subjects now at the top of the agenda of international organisations, they have a number of features in common.

From the pupil's point of view the texts should be clear and accessible. Each chapter is introduced by a plan in diagram form and a series of tasks help to develop understanding of the subject by focusing attention on the skills needed to master the text and the visual resources provided. Useful glossaries and chapter summaries will help the retention of important information. Extracts from newspaper articles underline the contemporary flavour of the material by illustrating conflicts of interest which affect the management and future of ecosystems and leisure activities.

Ecosystems and Human Activity is concerned with the physical and human components and management of ecosystems. A strength of the text is its concern with decisions which change the structure of ecosystems, their biodiversity and management. Geographical case studies which illustrate the more theoretical representations contain sufficient context and information for pupils to develop an understanding of the cultural, political and economic pressures on sensitive ecosystems - as diverse as forested areas in Sierra Leone and Poland, agricultural environments in the European Union and the marine ecosystem of the North Sea.

Leisure, Recreation and Tourism covers the spatial organisation and impacts of recreation opportunities and behaviour. These themes are explained and illustrated in 10 chapters on leisure activities and management at urban, rural, national and global scales. Students are encouraged to relate these cases to personal experience by drawing parallels with their own localities where they are likely to encounter issues such as use of parks, leisure centres and footpaths.

The emphasis on participation, policy and provision should also help students to become more aware of the personal aspects of the recreation issues covered.

The book also brings out connections between the geography of leisure and other parts of the A-level syllabus, particularly urban and economic geography, which share interests in aspects such as urban regeneration, locational decision-making, the study of product cycles and the role of market forces.

The link with physical geography is represented in references to ecotourism and sustainable development, which is a key consideration for one of the world's largest industries.

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