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Tropical Rain Forests

336 pages
The popular view of the tropical rainforest as a monolithic tangleof
rain-soaked trees, vines, birds, monkeys and big cats is awidespread
myth. Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological andBiogeographical
explodes that myth by showing that rain forestsin
different tropical regions are unique despite superficialsimilarities.

Written by two leading figures in the field, this essentialnew

  • Emphasizes the distinctive characteristics of rain forestsin
    tropical Asia, tropical America, Africa,Madagascar,NewGuinea,
    and Australia
  • Begins with an introduction to the climate, biogeographichistory,
    and environment of tropical rain forests
  • Presents an extended cross-continental treatment of major
    animal and plant groups
  • Outlines a research program involving cross-continental
  • Considers the impact of people on tropical forests and
    discusses conservation strategies based upon thecharacteristics
    of particular regions rather than a one-size-fits-allapproach
  • Includes natural history examples, figures, and astunning
    collection of color photographs
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Preface, viii Acknowledgments, x
Many Tropical Rain Forests, 1
What are tropical rain forests?, 3 Where are the tropical rain forests?, 4 Rain forest environments, 8 Rain forest histories, 17 Origins of the similarities and differences in rain forests, 24 Many rain forests, 27 Conclusions, 29 Further reading, 29
Plants: Building Blocks of the Rain Forest, 30
Plant distributions, 32 Rain forest structure, 33 How many plant species?, 34 Widespread plant families, 37 Neotropical rain forests, 51 Asian rain forests, 57 Rain forests in New Guinea and Australia, 65 African rain forests, 66 Madagascan rain forests, 70 Conclusions and future research directions, 71 Further reading, 74
Primate Communities: a Key to Understanding Biogeography and Ecology, 75
What are primates?, 75 Old World versus New World primates, 76 Primate diversity, 81 Primate diets, 82 Primate communities, 85 Primates as seed dispersal agents, 94 Conclusions and future research directions, 95 Further reading, 97
Carnivores and Planteaters, 98
Carnivores, 98 Herbivores of the forest floor, 111 Conclusions and future research directions, 129 Further reading, 131
Birds: Linkages in the Rain Forest Community, 133
Biogeography, 134 Little, brown, insect-eating birds, 139 Forest frugivores, 143 Fruit size and body size, 154 Flower visitors, 155 Ground-dwellers, 160 Woodpeckers, 165 Birds of prey, 167 Scavengers, 169 Night birds, 170 Migration, 172 Comparison of bird communities across continents, 173 Conclusions and future research directions, 176 Further reading, 177
Fruit Bats and Gliding Animals in the Tree Canopy, 178
Fruit- and nectar-feeding bats, 178 Feeding habits, 181 Flying behavior, 183 Foraging behavior, 184 Bats as pollinators and seed dispersal agents, 187 Fruit bat conservation, 188 Gliding vertebrates, 189 Conclusions and future research directions, 195 Further reading, 197
Insects: Diverse, Abundant, and Ecologically Important, 198
Butterflies, 199 Ants, 206 Termites, 218 Social wasps, 222 Bees, 223 Conclusions and future research directions, 230 Further reading, 232
The Future of Rain Forests, 233
Different forests, different threats, 233 The major threats, 241 The forces behind the threats, 254 Global climate change, 260 How bad is it?, 263 Rain forest extinctions, 266 Solutions, 267 Conclusions and future research directions, 278 Further reading, 281
References, 282 Index, 307
Color plate section between pp. 150 and 151