A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. Illustrated by Andrea S. LeJeune

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Overview

A Neotropical Companion introduces armchair travelers, field naturalists, and conservationists to the tropics of Central and South America. In recent years the neotropics have been more and more frequently visited by those interested in rain forests and the exotic birds, mammals, insects, and plants of these ecosystems. At the same time scientific knowledge of the neotropics has bourgeoned. A primer for the student and for the scientific amateur, this well-illustrated volume presents a general and up-to-date view of some of the world's most complex natural environments. In addition, it provides the neotropical specialist with a broad look at the entire field of neotropical biology.

After giving an overview of the different kinds of ecosystems in the tropics, the author describes the structure, function, and evolution of tropical rain forests. Tropical trees are then discussed, as are the vast array of vines, orchids, bromeliads, and other plants that live among the branches of the forest giants. A chapter on the "tropical pharmacy" treats the many drugs present in tropical vegetation and the evolutionary influence of these drugs. The book surveys the great diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods of the neotropics and provides separate chapters on tropical savannas and on coastal ecosystems. An epilogue deals with the crucially important issues of the conservation of neotropical environments.

A guide to the different regions and natural changes of Latin America, Central America, and regions of the South in the United States.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691085203
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/21/1989
  • Pages: 448

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
A Personal Note to the Reader
Conversions
Ch. 1 Tropical Climates and Ecosystems 3
Ch. 2 Rainforest Structure and Diversity 21
Ch. 3 How a Rainforest Functions 44
Ch. 4 Evolutionary Patterns in the Tropics 75
Ch. 5 Complexities of Coevolution and Ecology of Fruit 126
Ch. 6 The Neotropical Pharmacy 144
Ch. 7 Living Off the Land in the Tropics 169
Ch. 8 Rivers through Rainforest 189
Ch. 9 Introduction to the Andes and Tepuis 218
Ch. 10 Savannas and Dry Forests 228
Ch. 11 Coastal Ecosystems: Mangroves, Seagrass, and Coral Reefs 239
Ch. 12 Neotropical Birds 251
Ch. 13 A Rainforest Bestiary 295
Ch. 14 Deforestation and Conservation of Biodiversity 334
Appendix "And Hey, Let's Be Careful Out There" 377
Acronyms 389
Glossary 390
Neotropical Field Guides and Handbooks 396
Recommended Book-Length References 399
Literature Cited 403
Index 435
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