Perhaps it is not possible to experience all the mysterious sounds, the unfamiliar smells, and the spectacular sights of a tropical rainforest without ever visiting one. But this exhilarating and honest book comes wondrously close to taking the reader on such a journey. Bruce M. Beehler, a widely traveled expert on birds and tropical ecology, recounts fascinating details from twelve field trips he has taken to the tropics over the past three decades. As a researcher, he brings to life the exotic rainforests and the people who inhabit them; as a conservationist, he makes a plea for better ways of managing rainforests-"a resource that the world cannot do without."
Drawing on his experiences in Papua New Guinea, India, Madagascar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Panama, and the Ivory Coast, Beehler describes the surprises-both pleasant and unpleasant-of doing science and conservation in the field. He explains the role that rainforests play in the lives of indigenous peoples and the crucial importance of understanding local cultures, customs, and politics. The author concludes with simple but tough solutions for maintaining rainforest health, expressing fervent hope that his great-grandchildren and others may one day also hear the rainforest whisper its secrets.
Bruce M. Beehler is senior research scientist in the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. He is an internationally known ornithologist and leader of natural history expeditions, and his books include The Birds of Paradise, Birds of New Guinea, and A Naturalist in New Guinea.