This book is not just about freshwater crayfish – it is about the plight of biodiversity in a world of growing demands on resources. Freshwater crayfish are widespread, often dominant, members of many aquatic habitats, and excite interest because of their size and edible nature, but freshwater resources are under heavy and increasing pressure.
Over the past 50 years, humans have altered ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history. Introductions of non-native species have been made with the intention of improving our quality of life, but largely in ignorance of ecological consequences. Development of genetically engineered organisms adds a new dimension to the question of introduced species and the threat to biodiversity. The increasing globalization of the economy, with extensive travel and shipment of goods between continents, brings increasing numbers of unintended new invasions.