A Neotropical Companion is an extraordinarily readable introduction to the American tropics, the lands of Central and South America, their remarkable rainforests and other ecosystems, and the creatures that live there. It is the most comprehensive one-volume guide to the Neotropics available today. Widely praised in its first edition, it remains a book of unparalleled value to tourists, students, and scientists alike. This second edition has been substantially revised and expanded to incorporate the abundance of new scientific information that has been produced since it was first published in 1989. Major additions have been made to every chapter, and new chapters have been added on Neotropical ecosystems, human ecology, and the effects of deforestation. Biodiversity and its preservation are discussed throughout the book, and Neotropical evolution is described in detail. This new edition offers all new drawings and photographs, many of them in color. As enthusiastic readers of the first edition will attest, this is a charming book.
Wearing his learning lightly and writing with ease and humor, John Kricher presents the complexities of tropical ecology as accessible and nonintimidating. Kricher is so thoroughly knowledgeable and the book is so complete in its coverage that general readers and ecotourists will not need any other book to help them identify and understand the plants and animals, from birds to bugs, that they will encounter in their travels to the New World tropics. At the same time, it will fascinate armchair travelers and students who may get no closer to the Neotropics than this engagingly written book.
ForewordPrefaceAcknowledgmentsA Personal Note to the ReaderConversionsCh. 1Tropical Climates and Ecosystems3Ch. 2Rainforest Structure and Diversity21Ch. 3How a Rainforest Functions44Ch. 4Evolutionary Patterns in the Tropics75Ch. 5Complexities of Coevolution and Ecology of Fruit126Ch. 6The Neotropical Pharmacy144Ch. 7Living Off the Land in the Tropics169Ch. 8Rivers through Rainforest189Ch. 9Introduction to the Andes and Tepuis218Ch. 10Savannas and Dry Forests228Ch. 11Coastal Ecosystems: Mangroves, Seagrass, and Coral Reefs239Ch. 12Neotropical Birds251Ch. 13A Rainforest Bestiary295Ch. 14Deforestation and Conservation of Biodiversity334Appendix"And Hey, Let's Be Careful Out There"377Acronyms389Glossary390Neotropical Field Guides and Handbooks396Recommended Book-Length References399Literature Cited403Index435
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