"Biodiversity." As argument over environmental and conservation policy grows more heated in California and throughout the nation, the term has become a buzzword. But what does biodiversity really mean? What really threatens it? Why should we care? "In Our Own Hands" offers a readable, scientifically sound view of California's biological diversity and what must be done to preserve it. The book will be an invaluable resource for environmental and natural resource specialists, educators, and general readers. Local and global forces threaten California's wetlands, dunes, oak woodlands, and riparian forest habitats--all declining habitats in a rapidly urbanizing, culturally heterogeneous, and politically turbulent state. Always a bellwether, California will be a model for the rest of the United States in its scientific and political solutions to conservation problems. This book proposes the first steps toward a unified national conservation policy for the twenty-first century.