The acclaimed guide to the ecology and natural history of the American tropics--now fully updated and expanded The New Neotropical Companion is the completely revised and expanded edition of a book that has helped thousands of people to understand the complex ecology and natural history of the most species-rich area on Earth, the American tropics. Featuring stunning color photos throughout, it is a sweeping and cutting-edge account of tropical ecology that includes not only tropical rain forests but also other ecosystems such as cloud forests, rivers, savannas, and mountains. This is the only guide to the American tropics that is all-inclusive, encompassing the entire region's ecology and the amazing relationships among species rather than focusing just on species identification. The New Neotropical Companion is a book unlike any other. Here, you will learn how to recognize distinctive ecological patterns of rain forests and other habitats and to interpret how these remarkable ecosystems function--everything is explained in clear and engaging prose free of jargon. You will also be introduced to the region's astonishing plant and animal life.
Informative and entertaining, The New Neotropical Companion is a pleasurable escape for armchair naturalists, and visitors to the American tropics will want to refer to this book before, during, and after their trip. * Covers all of tropical America* Describes the species and habitats most likely to be observed by visitors* Includes every major ecosystem, from lowland rain forests to the high Andes* Features a wealth of color photos of habitats, plants, and animals
John Kricher is professor of biology at Wheaton College. His many books include Tropical Ecology, The Balance of Nature: Ecology's Enduring Myth, and Galapagos: A Natural History (all Princeton).
Preface 9 Acknowledgments 11 How to Use This Book 12 1 Welcome to the Torrid Zone 15 2 Why It Is Hot, Humid, and Rainy in the Tropics 29 3 Rain Forest: The Realm of the Plants 39 4 Finding Animals in Rain Forest 58 5 Sun Plus Rain Equals Rain Forest 73 6 Essential Dirt: Soils and Cycling 81 7 If a Tree Falls ... Rain Forest Disturbance Dynamics 95 8 Evolutionary Cornucopia 113 9 Why Are There So Many Species? 134 10 Tropical Intimacy: Mutualism and Coevolution 155 11 Evolutionary Arms Races: More Coevolution, More Complexity 181 12 Cruising the Rivers to the Sea 205 13 Scaling the Andes 235 14 Don't Miss the Savannas and Dry Forests 250 15 Neotropical Birds: The Bustling Crowd 262 16 From Monkeys to Tarantulas: Endless Eccentricities 319 17 Human Ecology in the Tropics 365 18 The Future of the Neotropics 377 Appendix Words of Caution: Be Sure to Read This 389 Further Reading 392 Index 417