This carefully researched volume not only provides physical and historical background data on Antigua, Barbuda, and Anguilla, it is also concerned with the consequences of biological introductions and exterminations both with and without the intervention of man. As the author, a British geographer, concludes: “In the ecology of the Outer Leewards, as of other oceanic islands, the dynamic relationship that exists between man and the organic environment he exploits is illuminated with exceptional clarity” (p. 142). A graph (p. 99), summarizing the vegetative history of Antigua, exemplifies the author’s ability to generalize from the details he provides adequately elsewhere.
The work starts with the structure, climate, soils, and present plant and animal population of the three small limestone islands. While some species are indigenous, the pests, weeds, domesticated animals, and crops imported from every continent make up an impressive list. Part Two: “The Past” divides the record into five eras and describes chronologically the introductions. Part Three: “The Future” considers conservation problems before presenting the author’s conclusions.