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Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3255-1
336 pages
February 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison, 2nd Edition (1444332554) cover image
The first edition of Tropical Rain Forests: an Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison exploded the myth of ‘the rain forest’ as a single, uniform entity. In reality, the major tropical rain forest regions, in tropical America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and New Guinea, have as many differences as similarities, as a result of their isolation from each other during the evolution of their floras and faunas. This new edition reinforces this message with new examples from recent and on-going research.

After an introduction to the environments and geological histories of the major rain forest regions, subsequent chapters focus on plants, primates, carnivores and plant-eaters, birds, fruit bats and gliding animals, and insects, with an emphasis on the ecological and biogeographical differences between regions. This is followed by a new chapter on the unique tropical rain forests of oceanic islands. The final chapter, which has been completely rewritten, deals with the impacts of people on tropical rain forests and discusses possible conservation strategies that take into account the differences highlighted in the previous chapters. This exciting and very readable book, illustrated throughout with color photographs, will be invaluable reading for undergraduate students in a wide range of courses as well as an authoritative reference for graduate and professional ecologists, conservationists, and interested amateurs.

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Preface to the first edition.

Preface to the second edition.

Acknowledgments.

1 Many Tropical Rain Forests.

What are tropical rain forests?

Where are the tropical rain forests?

Rain forest environments.

Rain forest histories.

Origins of the similarities and differences among rain forests.

Many rain forests.

Conclusions.

2 Plants: Building Blocks of the Rain Forest.

Plant distributions.

Rain forest structure.

How many plant species?

Widespread plant families.

Neotropical rain forests.

Asian rain forests.

Rain forests in New Guinea and Australia.

African rain forests.

Madagascan rain forests.

Conclusions and future research directions.

3 Primate Communities: A Key to Understanding Biogeography and Ecology.

What are primates?

Old World versus New World primates.

Primate diets.

Primate communities.

Primates as seed dispersal agents.

Conclusions and future research directions.

4 Carnivores and Plant-eaters.

Carnivores.

Herbivores of the forest floor.

Conclusions and future research directions.

5 Birds: Linkages in the Rain Forest Community.

Biogeography.

Little, brown, insect-eating birds.

Forest frugivores.

Fruit size and body size.

Flower visitors.

Ground-dwellers.

Woodpeckers.

Birds of prey.

Scavengers.

Night birds.

Migration.

Comparison of bird communities across continents.

Conclusions and future research directions.

6 Fruit Bats and Gliding Animals in the Forest Canopy.

Fruit- and nectar-feeding bats.

Flying behavior.

Foraging behavior.

Bats as pollinators and seed dispersal agents.

Gliding vertebrates.

Conclusions and future research directions.

7 Insects: Diverse, Abundant, and Ecologically Important.

Butterflies.

Ants.

Termites.

Bees.

Conclusions and future research directions.

8 Island Rain Forests.

Pacific islands.

Evolution on islands.

Indian Ocean islands.

Atlantic islands.

Caribbean islands.

Natural disasters.

Human impacts.

Conclusions and future research directions.

9 The Future of Tropical Rain Forests.

Different forests, different threats.

The major threats.

The forces behind the threats.

Global climate change.

Saving the many rain forests.

Conclusions and future research directions.

References.

Index.

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Richard Corlett, a Professor at the National University of Singapore, has studied tropical rain forests in New Guinea, Southeast Asia, and southern China. His major current research interest is in how rain forest plants and animals survive in human-dominated landscapes. He has previously taught ecology at the University of Chiang Mai, in Thailand, and the University of Hong Kong, in China, and is author or co-author of several books on the ecology of the Asian tropics.

Richard B. Primack, a Professor at Boston University, is the author of two leading textbooks in conservation biology and is the Editor in Chief of the journal, Biological Conservation. He has carried out research in Central America, Malaysia, and Australia, and is currently studying the impact of climate change on plant and animal communities.  He is a former President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.

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“This well-written, superbly illustrated, book should be compulsory reading for politicians and international bureaucrats, because, however good the ecological science conducted in rainforest, it will be a matter of preaching to the converted if it remains in scientific journals and does not reach the broader public.”  (Austral Ecology, 11 July 2013)

“Recommended.  Lower-division  undergraduates through graduate student; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 May 2012)

"In summary: this is a fascinating book. I enjoyed it, I learned from it and I recommend it. It will be of value to academics, researchers and students, and, due to its accessible style and illustrations, it will appeal to many others too. Columbus would have found it helpful-but over half a millennium later so might many of us." (Frontiers of biogeography, 3 January 2011)

 

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