Links und References

(in order of the presented habitats)

A map of the major dry lands of the earth can be found under and

The establishment of the US National Park system under legislation introduced to congress by the American president Theodore Rooseveld (1858-1919) was an epochal breakthrough on the path of protection of wild nature from commercial exploitation and destruction. An detailed description of his life can be found on the webpages of the US National Park Service ( )

The arid lands of the Kalahari are the home of the San (“Bushmen”). The artistic value of San rock art was discovered and appreciated too late. The last desert-living clans of the San were forced in the 50-ies of the last century to abandon their life as hunter-gatherers. Their cultural entity has by en large been destroyed. In the absence of a written history, our understanding of the San ways has to entirely rest on rock art and sketchy interviews with the few remaining carriers of knowledge of the ancient myths and practices. For the interpretation of San rock art I would refer to the publications of J.D. Lewis-Williams ( ), for an introduction to the San myths to the work of Coral Fourie ). 

The parties of the Ramsar convention ( have committed themselves to protection of defined wetlands. In a practical sense the Ramsar database ( ) is a great resource where exiting wetland biology can be found, at home and on a journey.

For the best part of t he year, I spent my time in the habitat Woods and Meadows, in the vicinity of my home in Bergisch Gladbach / North-Rhine-Westphalia. As ornithological guides I routinely use the book “Die Brutvögel Nordrhein-Westfalens“ of the LWL-Museum for Natural History (ISBN 978-3-940726-24-7) and the internet-platform For the purpose of classification, for putting observations into context and as a source of inspiration the series „Handbook of the Birds of the World“  ( became indispensable.

Yellowstone National Park is a very special mountain area on the grounds of it`s geology. The National Park is located on an elevated plateau of about 8000 feet altitude, surrounded by chains of the Rocky Mountains ranging from 9000 to 11000 feet altitude. Under the plateau lies a huge magma chamber which feeds the abundant geysers and hot springs ( A wonderful place!

John Muir (1838-1914) is one of the outstanding American wilderness philosophers.  The importance and impact of wilderness philosophy is apparent in light of the never-ending discussion about the value of wild nature; and how much of it should be protected and preserved. For the thinkers of the enlightenment and modernism, wild nature was mere matter in motion and pure economical resource. John Muir and his fellow philosophers, such as H.D. Thoreau and Aldo Leopold, bestowed wild nature with a deep spiritual value - which can be experienced very tangibly and practically by nature loving people. I find it personally hard to imagine that reserves and national parks of meaningful size would exist today in our industrial world without the contribution of these leaders in wildlife conservation. A comprehensive and enjoyable account of John Muir´s life can be found on the pages of the Sierra Club ( A general review of the idea of wilderness can be found in Max Oelschlaegers book.

There is no one-to-one counterpart to the American - and I should add African - wildlife conservation in the old world. The economic exploitation of wild nature in Europe was virtually complete at the time of ancient Mediterranean empires. Wilderness conservation in modern times was local; by way of example the wilderness Duerrenstein in Lower Austria, set aside by the Baron Albert von Rothschild. Most of the nature space in Europe had to be regained from agricultural or other use. Today, we can be proud of initiatives such as the EU-project  Natura 2000 - which in a very practical sense is a great guide where to find and photo-capture exiting and beautiful nature in Europe. I will see you there.

     - Enjoy nature and photography, Yours Guenther Karmann -