This article was originally published on Ecology


“Birds are taxonomically and ecologically the most diverse group of terrestrial vertebrates. As such, birds perform an amazing diversity of ecological functions. In trophic interactions birds fill every roll except primary producer, acting as prey, top predators, and scavengers, effectively moving energy and nutrients through the food web, between habitats, and around the globe. They are pollinators and dispersers of seeds and aquatic plants. They act as ecosystem engineers by “planting forests” (i.e., scatter-hoarding tree seeds), and by excavating cavities in trees and other substrates. Birds do it all. Why birds matter: avian ecological function and ecosystem services describes this diversity of ecological contributions from birds in commendable detail. The goal of the book is to provide a state-of-the-field description of how avian ecological functions specifically benefit humans, either culturally, economically, or otherwise. These “services” provided by birds are known as avian ecosystem services, and are the focus of the book

Chapters 3 through 11 furnish the bulk the ecological content, with each devoted to the details of a specific ecological function, including pollination, seed dispersal, cavity excavation, nutrient dynamics, and others. The great strength of this book is the ecological detail provided in each of these chapters. They offer a comprehensive overview of the field, with details of relevant studies and a long list of citations at the end of each chapter. This makes the book a must-read for any researcher starting out in the study of ecosystem functions or for students of avian conservation…”

Read on at: Ecology.