Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica / Edition 1

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Overview

A vividly written account of one of the great environmental success stories of our time

Can we prevent the destruction of the world's tropical forests? In the fire-scarred hills of Costa Rica, award-winning science writer William Allen found a remarkable answer: we can not only prevent their destruction — we can bring them back to their former glory.

In Green Phoenix, Allen tells the gripping story of a large group of Costa Rican and American scientists and volunteers who set out to save the tropical forests in the northwestern section of the country. It was an area badly damaged by the fires of ranchers and small farmers; in many places a few strands of forest strung across a charred landscape. Despite the widely held belief that tropical forests, once lost, are lost forever, the team led by the dynamic Daniel Janzen from the University of Pennsylvania moved relentlessly ahead, taking a broad array of political, ecological, and social steps necessary for restoration. They began with 39 square miles and, by 2000, they had stitched together and revived some 463 square miles of land and another 290 of marine area. Today this region is known as the Guanacaste Conservation Area, a fabulously rich landscape of dry forest, cloud forest, and rain forest that gives life to some 235,000 species of plants and animals. It may be the greatest environmental success of our time, a prime example of how extensive devastation can be halted and reversed.

This is an inspiring story, and in recounting it, Allen writes with vivid power. He creates lasting images of pristine beaches and dense forest and captures the heroics and skill of the scientific teams, especially the larger-than-life personality of the maverick ecologist Daniel Janzen. It is a book everyone concerned about the environment will want to own.

About the Author:

William Allen is an award-winning science writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His reporting on tropical forests has appeared in such publications as The Sciences, BioScience, and Harvard. He lives in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book is a paradigm of how one man can make such a difference through dedication and perseverance ..."--Biologist

"This is a remarkable story of a valuable ecosystem rising from its own ashes-a hopeful story for our time."--Wildlife Activist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195161779
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William Allen is an independent journalist and Senior Fellow with the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. His reporting on tropical forests has appeared in such publications as The Sciences, BioScience, and Harvard. He lives in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue: The Contrafuego xiii
Part I In the Place of the Tree with Ears
1. The Nucleus 3
2. Canon del Tigre 15
3. The Ant and the Acacia 27
4. The Tree with Ears 48
5. The Fires of Guanacaste 69
6. The Living Dead 77
7. The Battle Plan 87
Part II Advancing through the World of Wounds
8. A Tropical Christmas Catalogue 105
9. Earthquakes 120
10. Little Dances 138
11. The Clifftop and the Volcano 151
12. Home Runs 160
13. The Green Magician 175
14. Touch of the Money Spider 187
Part III The Rising Phoenix
15. Area de Conservacion Guanacaste 201
16. A Time of War 215
17. The Vigilant 235
18. Life Jackets 250
Epilogue: Lessons from a Tropical Kitty Hawk 265
Bibliography 287
Index 299
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