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An Introduction to Tropical Rain Forests

Second Edition

T. C. Whitmore

Publication Date - June 1998

ISBN: 9780198501473

296 pages


This new edition of Whitmore's classic introduction to tropical rain forests has been comprehensively revised and updated, reflecting the changes which have taken place since it was first published in 1990. The sections on human impact have been extended to include a new global assessment of deforestation as well as details of new research on biodiversity and conservation. Discussion of the future of the rain forests and priorities for action is incorporated. The book remains unique in linking rain forest biology and ecology with silviculture, and with concerns over sustainable resource utilization and the future of the tropical rain forests. It includes sections on the diverse animal and plant life forms which are found in the rain forest, and the interconnections between them. Nutrient cycles and forest dynamics are fully explained, with new data on ecophysiology and forest microclimates. The geologic and climatic history of rain forests, and the wide-spread canopy disturbances now understood to have occurred in the past, are explored. Accessibly written, and illustrated throughout with line-drawings and photographs, this is a must for biology and geography students, and anyone else who seeks to know more about the nature and importance of the world's tropical rain forests.

Previous Publication Date(s)

August 1990

Table of Contents

    Explanatory notes
    References and further reading
    Units, symbols, and abbreviations
    1. An introduction to tropical rain forests
    2. What are tropical rain forests?
    2.1. Tropical moist forests and their climates
    2.2. The forest formations
    2.3. Forest maintenance - the growth cycle
    2.4. Floristics
    2.5. Nature of the tropical rain forest community
    2.6. What are tropical rain forests? - Chapter summary
    3. Plant life
    3.1. Climbers and epiphytes
    3.2. Trees
    3.3. Seasonal rhythms
    3.4. Plant life - Chapter summary
    4. Rain forest animals
    4.1. Richness and diversity of animals
    4.2. Modes of coexistence
    4.3. Carrying capacity of the forest
    4.4. Rain forest animals - Chapter summary
    5. Interconnections between plants and animals - the web of life
    5.1. Animals as pollinators
    5.2. Animals as dispensers
    5.3. Food webs, mobile links, and keystone species
    5.4. Co-evolution
    5.5. Implications for forest conservation
    5.6. Plant breeding systems
    5.7. Interconnections between plants and animals - the web of life - Chapter summary
    6. Tropical rain forests through time
    6.1. Palaeogeography
    6.2. Palaeoclimates
    6.3. Pleistocene refugia
    6.4. Seasonal climate elements in Malesia
    6.5. High mountain plants
    6.6. Conservation
    6.7. Tropical rain forests through time - Chapter summary
    7. Forest dynamics
    7.1. Forest microclimates
    7.2. Pioneer and climax tree species
    7.3. Seed and seedling ecology
    7.4. Components of species richness
    7.5. Growth and shade tolerance
    7.6. Silviculture
    7.7. Growth rates and longevity
    7.8. Community-wide disturbances
    7.9. Forest recovery after human disturbance
    7.10. The dynamics of climax rain forest
    7.11. Forest dynamics - Chapter summary
    8. Nutrients and their cycles
    8.1. Shifting agriculture
    8.2. Nutrient pools and cycles in primary rain forest
    8.3. Practical implications
    8.4. Heath forest - a fragile ecosystem
    8.5. The upper montane forest enigma
    8.6. Nutrients and their cycles - Chapter summary
    9. Species richness
    10. Tropical rain forests yesterday and today
    10.1. Indigenous cultures
    10.2. The colonial era
    10.3. Minor forest products
    10.4. Tropical rain forests in modern times
    10.5. Forest conversion to other land usages
    10.6. Logging and the timber trade
    10.7. Animals in logged forest
    10.8. Rates of disappearance
    10.9. Controlling human impact
    10.10. Causes for concern
    10.11. Tropical rain forests yesterday and today - Chapter summary
    11. Tropical rain forests at the cusp of the new millennium
    11.1. Management for sustainability
    11.2. Forest certification
    11.3. The future pattern of land usage
    11.4. Priorities for action
    11.5. Tropical rain forests at the cusp of the new millennium - Chapter summary
    Text Notes
    Index to plants and minor forest products
    General index