1. What is the governing metaphor in the opening chapter?
Quammen uses the metaphor of the Persian rug cut up into 36 pieces, with frayed edges, and only sections of the overall pattern, on each piece, as a metaphor for the division and fragmentation of large ecosystems.
2. What does Quammen say about the overall pattern of the Persian rug?
Quammen says that the overall pattern is lost, ruined, even though each individual piece is well made and complex.
3. Describe Quammen's tone in the first chapter.
Quammen addresses the reader as if he were leading the reader through a thought experiment, he is familiar and easy-going, although his vocabulary assumes an educated reader following him through this experiment.
4. What factors have effectively broken the Persian rug of nature into pieces, according to Quammen?
Quammen says that deforestation, damming, development and other human activities have broken many ecosystems into small pieces of their former selves.
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