This book is an exploration of the most alien and feared habitat on earth. Starting with man's earliest recorded adventures, Fred Pearce adventures high into the canopy - home to two-thirds of all the creatures on our planet, many of them never coming down to earth. Even now, new species of animals are being discovered. And Pearce discovers secrets about how evolution works, the intricate links that connect us all, and maybe even clues to where humans came from.
The jungle holds the key to our future foods and medicines, our climate and to our understanding of how life works. At the start of a new millennium Pearce asks why we continue to waste precious time - and billions of dollars - looking for signs of life elsewhere in our universe when the greatest range of life-forms that have ever existed lies right here on our doorstep. Today environmentalists say we are on the verge of destroying the last rainforests, and with it the planet's evolutionary crucible, and maybe even its ability to maintain life on Earth. But nature has a way of getting its own back. The Mayans and the people of Angkor went too far in manipulating nature and paid the ultimate price. Their civilisations died and the jungle returned. Nature reclaimed it's own and it may do so again.