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Tongass Odyssey is a biologist's memoir of personal experiences over the past four decades studying brown bears, deer, and mountain goats and advocating for conservation of Alaska's Tongass National Forest. The largest national forest in the nation, the Tongass encompasses the most significant expanse of intact old-growth temperate rainforest remaining on Earth. Tongass Odyssey is a cautionary tale of the harm that can result when science is eclipsed by politics that are focused on short-term economic gain. Yet even as those problems put the Tongass at risk, the forest also represents a unique opportunity for conserving large, intact landscapes with all their ecological parts, including wild salmon, bears, wolves, eagles, and other wildlife. Combining elements of personal memoir, field journal, natural history, conservation essay, and philosophical reflection, Tongass Odyssey tells an engaging story about an enchanting place.
John Schoen worked for twenty years as a scientist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and fourteen years for Audubon Alaska. He also served as an affiliate professor of wildlife biology at the University of Alaska and is a coauthor and coeditor of the book North Pacific Temperate Rainforests: Ecology and Conservation.