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Since the dawn of human civilization, forests have provided us with food, resources, and energy. The history of human development is also one of forest loss and transformation, and yet even in our increasingly urbanized societies we remain surprisingly dependent on forests for a wide range of goods and services. Moreover, forests still retain a remarkable hold on our environmental values. In an era of continuing tropical deforestation and temperate forest resurgence, and in the midst of uncertainties of climate and land use changes, it is more important than ever to understand what forests are, how they contribute to our livelihoods, and how they underpin our cultural histories and futures.
In this Very Short Introduction Jaboury Ghazoul explores our contrasting interactions with forests, as well as their origins, dynamics, and the range of goods and services they provide to human society. Ghazoul concludes with an examination of the recent history of deforestation, transitions to reforestation, and the future outlook for forests particularly in the context of expected climate change.
1: Forests in human culture
2: Forest origins
3: Many forests
4: Forest dynamics
5: Good and services
6: Past, present and future
Jaboury Ghazoul is Professor of Ecosystem Management at ETH Zurich. He was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biotropica from 2006 to 2013, and is President of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation in 2015. He is also author of Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Conservation.
"I very much enjoyed this book, and the exercise of thinking of things that I would have liked mentioned was part of the fun there weren't many of these; Jaboury Ghazoul has packed a huge amount into this slim volume. Reading about favourite examples like the Sook Plain and the Eastern White Pine was like seeing old friends again. I heartily recommend this book to forest ecologists, and suggest that anyone beginning a degree in ecology spend an evening reading it."
– BES Forest Ecology Group, Dan Bebber