La Selva: Ecology and Natural History of a Neotropical Rain Forest

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La Selva, a nature reserve and field station in Costa Rica, is one of the most intensively studied and best-understood tropical field sites in the world. For over thirty years, La Selva has been a major focus of research on rainforest ecology, flora, and fauna. This volume provides the first comprehensive review of this research, covering La Selva's geographical history and physical setting, its plant and animal life, and agricultural development and land use. Drawing together a wealth of information never before...
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Overview

La Selva, a nature reserve and field station in Costa Rica, is one of the most intensively studied and best-understood tropical field sites in the world. For over thirty years, La Selva has been a major focus of research on rainforest ecology, flora, and fauna. This volume provides the first comprehensive review of this research, covering La Selva's geographical history and physical setting, its plant and animal life, and agricultural development and land use. Drawing together a wealth of information never before available in a single volume, La Selva offers a substantive treatment of the ecology of a rainforest. Part 1 summarizes research on the physical setting and environment of the rainforest, as well as the history of the research station. Some chapters in this part focus on climate, geomorphology, and aquatic systems, while others look at soils, nutrient acquisition, and cycles of energy. Part 2 synthesizes what is known about the plant community. It begins with chapters on vegetation types and plant diversity, and also explores plant demography, spatial patterns of trees, and the impact of treefall gaps on forest structure and dynamics. Other chapters address plant physiological ecology, as well as plant reproductive systems. Part 3 covers the animal community, summarizing information on the six best-known animal taxa of the region: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and butterflies. This part includes an overview of faunal studies at La Selva and a chapter on animal population biology, which examines animal demography and abundance, and interactions between predators and prey. Part 4 addresses interactions between plants and animals and the effects of these interactions on species diversity. Part 5 considers the impact of land use and agricultural development on La Selva and other areas of Costa Rica. One chapter examines land colonization and conservation in Sarapiqui, another covers subsistence and commercial agricultural development in the Atlantic lowlands region, and a third looks at the forest industry in northeastern Costa Rica. This part also assesses the role and research priorities of La Selva. La Selva provides an introduction to tropical ecology for students and researchers at La Selva, a major source of comparative information for biologists working in other tropical areas, and a valuable resource for conservationists.
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Editorial Reviews

Economic Botany
“This book is a useful reference to those interested in tropical biology in America.” Economic Botany
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226039527
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 493
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1 Introduction 3
2 La Selva Biological Station 6
Pt. I Abiotic Environment and Ecosystem Processes 15
3 Climate, Geomorphology, and Aquatic Systems 19
4 Soils and Soil Process Research 34
5 Soil Fertility, Nutrient Acquisition, and Nutrient Cycling 54
Pt. II The Plant Community: Composition, Dynamics, and Life-History Processes 65
6 Vegetation Types and Floristic Patterns 73
7 Plant Demography 90
8 Patterns of Density and Dispersion of Forest Trees 106
9 Tree-fall Gap Environments and Forest Dynamic Processes 120
10 Physiological Ecology of Plants 128
11 Diversity of Long-term Flowering Patterns 142
12 Flowering Plant Reproductive Systems 161
Pt. III The Animal Community 183
13 Patterns of Butterfly Diversity and Promising Topics in Natural History and Ecology 187
14 Ecological Aspects of the Fish Community 195
15 Amphibian Diversity and Natural History 199
16 The Reptile Fauna: Diversity and Ecology 210
17 Birds: Ecology, Behavior, and Taxonomic Affinities 217
18 The Mammal Fauna 229
19 An Overview of Faunal Studies 238
20 Population Biology: Life Histories, Abundance, Demography, and Predator-Prey Interactions 244
Pt. IV Plant-Animal Interactions 257
21 Plant-Herbivore Interactions: Diversity, Specificity, and Impact 261
22 Frugivory: An Overview 282
Pt. V La Selva's Human Environment 295
23 The Regional Context: Land Colonization and Conservation in Sarapiqui 299
24 Agricultural Systems in the La Selva Region 307
25 Forestry in Costa Rica: Status, Research Priorities, and the Role of La Selva Biological Station 317
26 Prospects for a Comparative Tropical Ecology 329
App. 1 Patterns of Research Productivity, 1951-1991 341
App. 2 Administration and Governance 345
App. 3 Vascular Plants: An Interim Checklist 350
App. 4 Fishes 379
App. 5 Amphibians 380
App. 6 Reptiles 382
App. 7 Birds of La Selva and Vicinity 384
App. 8 Mammals 394
Acronyms 399
Bibliography 401
Contributors 459
Part-title photograph legends 463
Index 465
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