Ecology underpins the principles and practices of modern conservation and the maintenance of biodiversity. It explains the causes of, and offers solutions to, problems of climate change. Yet ecology is a young science, barely 100 years old. Its origins lie in phytogeography, the naming and mapping of plants.
Shaping Ecology is a book about a multi-faceted man whose friends included Bertrand Russell, Marie Stopes, Julian Huxley, GM Trevelyan, and Solly Zuckerman. Historical context is provided by Tansley's family for his parents moved in the Fabian-socialist world of John Ruskin and Octavia Hill, both instrumental in the foundation of the National Trust. While Britain was relatively slow to protect its green spaces and wildlife, it did establish in 1913 the first professional Ecological Society in the world. Tansley was its President. Organising the British Vegetation Committee and initiating a series of International Phytogeographic Excursions, he changed phytogeography into ecology.
Preface and Acknowledgements x
1 Kingley Vale: Worth Fighting For 1
2 The Origins of Ecology 15
3 George Tansley, Christian Socialism, and the Working Men's College 20
4 Highgate School, University College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge 38
5 Teaching at University College, the Chicks, and Marriage to Edith 48
6 Seashores and Woodlands: Looking for Patterns 60
7 The Managing Director of British Ecology 80
8 Disillusion and Disaffection 101
9 The Oxford Years, 1927-1937 122
10 The Magnum Opus, Grantchester, and Retirement 144
11 The Years of Fulfilment, 1937-1953 155
12 A Detached Liberal Philosopher and Free-thinker 179