258 pages, b&w illustrations
Perhaps it is not possible to experience all the mysterious sounds, the unfamiliar smells, and the spectacular sights of a tropical rainforest without ever visiting one. But this exhilarating and honest book comes wondrously close to taking the reader on such a journey. Bruce Beehler, a widely travelled expert on birds and tropical ecology, recounts fascinating details from twelve field trips he has taken to the tropics over the past three decades. As a researcher, he brings to life the exotic rainforests and the people who inhabit them; as a conservationist, he makes a plea for better ways of managing rainforests - 'a resource that the world cannot do without'.
Drawing on his experiences in Papua New Guinea, India, Madagascar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Panama, and the Ivory Coast, Beehler describes the surprise, both pleasant and unpleasant, of doing science and conservation in the field. He explains the role that rainforests play in the lives of indigenous peoples and the crucial importance of understanding local cultures, customs, and politics. The author concludes with simple but tough solutions for maintaining rainforest health, expressing fervent hope that his great-grandchildren and others may one day also experience and benefit from them.
This is a marvellous account of rain forest field biology and conservation. It captures the life of modern day conservation field biologists unlike any other book I know of. Thomas E. Lovejoy, The Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment "Beehler's memoir vividly describes the forests and wildlife that are his passion while offering an unromantic view of how 'environmental carpetbaggers' like himself work - warts and all - to advance international conservation in tropical forests from Madagascar to the Philippines to India." Margaret Pizer, Conservation Magazine"
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