In the cause of nature conservation, good intentions--even clear thinking--are not enough. Information is necessary, a great deal of it, often complex, and constantly revised. If there can be such a creature as an ideal compiler of such information, the National Audubon Society may be it. For the second year Audubon has published an awesome compendium of information: about wildlife species of concern, the agencies responsible for them, and something of the regulatory maze surrounding both. So if you've wondered how whooping cranes or loggerhead shrikes have been doing lately, or what the U.S. Forest Service (this issue's "featured" agency) does, or who manages marine fisheries, this may be the most efficient source of information. You get eight federal agencies and their programs, 18 species of concern from cacti to butterflies to polar bears, and appendices ranging from a directory for the Forest Service to budget information contacts for federal fish and wildlife programs.
Audubon hits the important controversies, but circumspectly. If this book isn't exhaustive at more than a thousand pages, it's certainly exhausting. Although hardly intended for "normal" reading anymore than is an encyclopedia, "Wildlife Report 1986" is surprisingly well-written, well-edited, well-composed, and well-indexed, particularly for something so timely.