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The Pacific coast is the most iconic region of California and one of the most fascinating and rapidly changing places in the world. Densely populated, urbanized, and industrialized -- but also home to wilderness with complex, fragile ecosystems -- the coast is the place where humanity and nature coexist in a precarious balance that is never perfectly stable. The Edge is a dramatic snapshot of the California coast's past, present, and probable future in a time of climate change and expanding human activity. Written by two marine experts who grew up on the coast, The Edge is both a celebration of the coast's natural and cultural uniqueness and a warning of the many complex changes that threaten that uniqueness. As ocean levels rise, coastal communities are starting to erode, and entire neighborhoods have been lost to the sea. Coastal ecosystems and wildlife that were already stressed by human settlement now face new dangers, some threatening their very existence. The combined impacts of climate change, housing and commercial growth, commercial fisheries, oil drilling and production, along with environmental advocacy, all come together to define the future of the region. A masterful and sweeping synthesis of environmental and social science, The Edge presents a comprehensive portrait of natural and cultural history -- the story of the people, communities, industries, ecology, and wildlife of the California coast.