- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 15, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231104219
- ISBN-13: 978-0231104210
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,773,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Floods of Fortune
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The Amazon has long been viewed by its European conquerors as a vast treasury of natural resources; gold, jute, and rubber among them. These and other goods still drive economic development in the region, and the quest for riches in the rainforest now has new elements, including the growth of cities and exploding human populations. The conservationist authors of Floods of Fortune offer a catalog of the Amazon's woes while they press for a program of thorough ecological investigations in the region that will identify unique and irreplaceable forms of life. If these investigations do not take place, and if economic development in the area continues apace, then the Amazon may be wholly destroyed without our ever knowing what potential riches we have lost--a cure for cancer, say, in the bark of an unknown tree, or a new source of food for developing nations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
A comprehensive overview of the Amazon Basin's riparian ecology and of the economic development that threatens to destroy it. ``As the new century approaches,'' the authors write, ``the Amazon is being transformed by deforestation, urban growth, mining, dams, and widespread exploitation of its natural resources.'' Yet in world coverage of these events, they maintain, the Amazon serves as a backdrop; they offer the astonishing fact that more is known about the Amazon as a whole than about a handful of its tributaries, thanks to a lack of thoroughgoing ecological investigations of the entire region. This book, by three leading authorities on the Amazon, provides a summary of what is, in fact, known. Among the sobering matters that the authors cover is the destruction of Brazil's Atlantic rainforest over the centuries, ``a poignant lesson in the dangers of ignoring the need for conservation and rational management of natural resources.'' They examine the history of jute and rubber production, which brought the first wave of European and mestizo colonists into the Amazonian interior a century ago, and describe current economic trends, especially the clearance of rainforest for livestock grazing. Along the way, they offer a guided tour of the Amazon's rich and varied ecological zones, noting that ``most of the Amazon's legendary biodiversity is not . . . expressed in the vertebrates,'' but in insects, in the preservation of whose floodplain habitat lies the key to determining how to save the larger rainforest. That determination is pressing, because the destruction of that region ``could happen in just decades. . . . Unless action is taken within the next few years, it may be too late. The task would then be restoration, not preservation.'' A fine contribution to Amazonian studies and to the literature of environmental advocacy. (90 color photos, 3 b&w photos, 2 maps) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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Though the book is very interesting and has especially good photography on the underwater floodplain, it is difficult to recommend it to a specific audience, since, for example, there are better books for tourists; there are also better books for history buffs; same for biologists. I guess it is for you if you find yourself at the intersection of these and need imagery to get a sense of what you read.