343 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour maps
Biodiversity of the Maya Mountains: A Focus on the Bladen Nature Reserve is chock full of stunning images captured in the wilds of the jungles of Belize by biologist Dan Dourson. It is a journey through lost valleys, undomesticated river gorges and forbidden underworlds of the Maya. From mysterious creatures to local folklore, a living and breathtaking chronicle of these exceptional mountains unfolds before your very eyes as new animals to science are documented and photographed for the first time. Most importantly, this book seeks to lure you beyond walls of wood and concrete into jungles of wonder and discovery in the majestic mountains of the Maya in southern Belize. The area is some of the most pristine rainforest left in Central America. The book is a culmination of biologist Dan's seven years spent living and working with a non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of this incredible area. Written to provide Belizeans and travelers alike information about both the charismatic more well-known creatures of the jungle as well as the creepy crawlies and obscure creatures that inhabit this area.
"One of the best collection of photographs I have seen in any book on a natural history subject. The book and illustrations are absolutely superb!"
- Dr. Harvey Lillywhite, Professor of Biology, University of Florida, USA
"Informative [...] . It's really inspiring [...] ..very nicely done!"
- Jan Meerman, Biodiversity and Environmental Resource Data System for Belize (BERDS)
"This is a great contribution to help educate a lay audience as well ecotourists [...] ..very nice images! Congratulations on a fine piece of work!"
- Dr. Brett Ratcliffe, Professor and Curator of Entomology at the University of Nebraska State Museum, USA
"What a magnificent production! I've been through it a couple of times, and I marvel at the biota, the quality of the illustrations, and the immensity of new information you've provided us."
- Dr. Harry Lee, Jacksonville Shell Club, Florida, USA
"The best natural history book about Belize to date!"
- Sharon Matola, Founder and Director of the Belize Zoo, "The Best Little Zoo in the World"
"Congratulations on producing such a valuable publication. I learned so much about the background to the biodiversity of Belize and in particular, the Bladen Nature Reserve. The book approached species interactions in entirely new ways and the multi-faceted approach to conservation was particularly impressive."
- Dr. Robert Browne, Research Officer, Amphibian Ark and the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium
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Dan Dourson is a biologist/naturalist/illustrator who has spent most of his adult life dedicated to the preservation, conservation and understanding of the planet's more obscure species. An employee of the US Forest Service for nearly 20 years, he worked to safeguard a myriad of species including snails, mussels, bats, reptiles, amphibians and other creatures too often ignored or misunderstood. Dan has also conducted biological inventories for the Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky States Parks, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, West Virginia DNR and has worked for more than a decade studying land snails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA as part of the ATBI, Discover Life in America Project.
He continues to work on land snail inventories in eastern North America and is currently staff biologist for Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education in Belize, Central America. He has authored or illustrated nearly a dozen books including the recent A Natural History of the Bladen Nature Reserve and its Gastropods, Belize, Central America and remains committed to conservation work protecting Earth's most amazing and unappreciated organisms. His allegiance with the natural world is clearly reflected through his writing and simple lifestyle. He divides his time between the USA and Belize with his wife, Judy. Together, they have three children, Brad, Angie and Tyler and four grandchildren Zach, Tessa, Jude and Callie.