Many academics aspire to have at least one book published during their academic career. For Lincoln University Emeritus Professor of Nature Conservation, Ian Spellerberg, it was 16 books during his academic career, plus four more in early retirement.
That’s 20 non-fiction books in 39 years.
Common themes have been ecology, conservation and sustainability. Topics range from an illustrated book for children (still available after a number of decades) to several textbooks. One textbook, Monitoring Ecological Change, has two editions and has also been translated for students in Korea. Another has been translated for students in the Czech Republic.
Professor Spellerberg’s first book, Ecological Evaluation for Conservation (1981), was just 60 pages long and published when he was Director of Environmental Sciences at the University of Southampton. Recently, he was invited to be Editor-in-Chief for Volume Six of the 10-volume Berkshire Encyclopaedia of Sustainability.
Later, Berkshire Publishing invited him to prepare and edit an overview of the entire Berkshire Encyclopaedia. That was no mean task and took three years to complete. Published in 2020, the title is simply What is Sustainability? The book provides an overview of our impact on planet earth and the natural forces shaping our future.
“Prepared with students of all ages in mind, it explains the issues concerning the relationship between humans and the environment. For that reason, it serves as great preparation for anyone studying interdisciplinary environmental studies,” Professor Spellerberg says.
“The concept of sustainability is all about human-environment relationships and the extent to which humans live within environmental limits. For decades, much of humanity has been exploiting nature and the environment in an unsustainable and inequitable manner. The biggest and most urgent issue facing humanity is finding how to live with nature within environmental limits. Human-induced climate change is part of that bigger picture.”
One of Professor Spellerberg’s retirement projects was mastering desktop publishing. By learning how to use his own digital photography, he has self-published three books about important social and historic artefacts, such as milk cans. Originally launched through Smiths Bookshop in Christchurch, two of his titles have since been picked up by American publishers.
He stays motivated by his enthusiastic co-authors and co-editors.
“Three books about conservation of New Zealand native plants were greatly enriched by having one of my research students, environmental practitioner Michele Frey, as the co-editor,” he says. “They were also greatly enhanced by a colleague and friend, the talented and professional photographer, John Maillard.”
In addition to writing and editing books, Professor Spellerberg has contributed chapters to other books and served on several editorial boards. He has published a great number of scientific papers, as well writing numerous articles for magazines and many opinion editorials for newspapers.
“Publishing, now online as well as in hard copy, has many benefits, including attracting readers who make contact and contributing to the conversation,” Professor Spellerberg says. “Never believe that your book is the ultimate text on your chosen subject. The ongoing dialogue from around the world is a joyous thing. I am always thinking about possibilities, including further editions of what has already been published.”
Ian Spellerberg – list of books either authored or edited
1981. Ecological Evaluation for Conservation. Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd.
1982. Biology of Reptiles: an ecological approach. Blackie.
1984*. Mysteries and Marvels of the Reptile World. Co-author Marit Mckerchar. Usborne Publishing.
1991, 2005. Monitoring Ecological Change. Cambridge University Press
1991. The Scientific Management of Temperate Communities for Conservation. Co-editors F.B. Goldsmith and M.G. Morris. British Ecological Society & Blackwell Science.
1992. Biological Conservation. Co-author Steven Hardes. Cambridge University Press.
1992. Evaluation and Assessment for Conservation: ecological guidelines for determining priorities for nature conservation. Chapman & Hall.
1996. Conservation Biology. Longman.
1999. An Introduction to Applied Biogeography. Co-author John Sawyer. Cambridge University Press.
2002. Ecological Effects of Roads. Science Publishers Inc.
2002. Amphibians and Reptiles of North-West Europe: their natural history, ecology and conservation. Illustrations by Peter Jack. Science Publishers Inc.
2004. Going Native: making use of New Zealand plants. Co-editor David Given. Canterbury University Press.
2008. Living with Natives: New Zealanders talk about their Love of native plants. Co-editor Michele Frey, photography by John Maillard. Canterbury University Press.
2010. Biological Diversity and Nature Conservation: theory and practice for teaching. Co-editors, Jolanta Slowik, Michael Muhlenberg and Yury Dgebuadze. KMK Scientific Press Ltd.
2011. Native by Design: landscape design with New Zealand plants. Co-editor Michele Frey, Photography by John Maillard. Canterbury University Press.
2012. Berkshire Encyclopaedia of Sustainability. Vol. 6.Measurements, Indicators and Research Methods for Sustainability. Co-editors Daniel Fogel, Sarah Fredericks and Lisa Harrington.
2016. Match Holders: first-hand accounts of tinderboxes, matches, spills, vesta cases, match strikers, and permanent matches. Cadsonbury Publications.
2016. Reading and Writing Accessories: a study of paper-knives, paper folders, letter openers and mythical page turners. Oak Knoll Press.
2018. Milk Cans: a celebration of their history, use and design. Astragal Press.
2020. What is Sustainability? An overview of our impact on planet earth and the natural forces shaping our future. Berkshire Publishing.
Notes. If ‘Spellerberg’’ is not the lead co-editor or lead co-author of a book, then those books are not included. Books translated into other languages are not included. *Children’s book.