Rain forests are the richest and most varied habitat on the earth. They grow in a band along the equator where temperatures are warm year-round and rainfall is abundant. Scientists believe that the rain forests may contain countless undiscovered species of animals and plants. Today the forests are under assault as the people who live in these areas clear land for agriculture and fuel. There is international concern that many species of animals and plants will be destroyed as these forests are destroyed. This visit is hosted by journalist Bill Curtis and American ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin. Dr. Plotkin has visited with the Indians who live in this rain forest to learn which rain forest plants they use for medicine. This is part of the "New Explorers" series. The author has included an index, glossary, suggestions for further reading, and related web sites.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8A look at the work of Mark Plotkin, who has spent years as an ethnobotanist in the Amazon rain forest. Working with the Indians who use plants to treat diseases and injuries, the scientist gathers samples that can be tested and analyzed in his laboratory in the United States. This volume is part of a series based on the PBS science program, The New Explorers. The full-color photographs that illustrate the text often lack crispness although they are adequate to convey information. The most annoying aspect of the book is the narration by television host Bill Kurtis, who sometimes makes his presence too obvious. What distinguishes this glimpse of the tropical rain forest is the collaboration of Plotkin and the Amazonian Indians, especially the shaman. Plotkin is eager to learn from them, and they appreciate his efforts to document their knowledge of plant medicines. Viewers of the TV series will likely be the first to seek out the title. Students interested in alternative medicine or the lives of native peoples will find it useful. A supplementary, but not essential, title in an ever-expanding area.Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN