Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2002


Published in Great Plains Research 12:1 (Spring 2002). Copyright © 2002 Center for Great Plains Studies.


Biodiversity and Democracy is a well-written book about the challenges of conserving biological diversity within the democratic societies of North America. Paul Woods espouses a novel and innovative viewpoint on the need to conserve biological diversity over the long haul, a concept not generally well-refined in democratic societies. Woods argues that a new paradigm-The Priority of Biodiversity Principle-needs to take precedence in decision-making. In short, Woods recommends that in public land-use decisions, the conservation of biological diversity should take priority over short-term public interest. Though exactly how decision-makers can ascertain if the Principle has been adhered to is a question the reader is left to ponder, the intent of the message is clear. Specific examples relating to the Great Plains are not evident, since the book focuses primarily on forested landscapes, but extrapolation to prairie landscapes is obvious.