This book explores the degree to which landscapes have been enriched with palms by human activities and the importance of palms for the lives of people in the region today and historically. Palms are a prominent feature of many landscapes in Amazonia, and they are important culturally, economically, and for a variety of ecological roles they play. Humans have been reorganizing the biological furniture in the region since the first hunters and gatherers arrived over 20,000 years ago.
"Rainforests occupy a special place in the imagination. Literary, historical and cinematic depictions range from a ghastly Green Hell to an idyllic Garden of Eden. In terms of fiction, they fired the already fervent imaginations of storytellers as diverse as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling and even George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in whose books and films they are inhabited by dinosaurs, trod by Indiana Jones, prowled by Mowgli the Jungle Boy and swung through by Tarzan of the Apes. But rainforest fact is no less fascinating than rainforest fiction. Brimming with mystery and intrigue, these forests still harbor lost cities, uncontacted tribes, ancient shamans, and powerful plants than can kill - and cure. The rainforest bestiary extends far beyond the requisite lions, tigers and bears. Flying foxes and winged lizards, arboreal anteaters, rainforest giraffes, cross-dressing spiders that disguise themselves as ants and bats the size of a bumblebees all flourish in these most fabulous of forests along with other zoological denizens that are equally bizarre and spectacular. And no scientist immersed in these ecosystems believes that all the wonders have been found or revealed. Tropical rainforests merit their moniker. They flourish in the tropics - the more than 3000 mile-wide equatorial band between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. And these forests are hot, humid and wet, receiving in the Amazon, on average from 60 to 120 inches of rain per year - as compared to a mere 25 inches in London or 45 inches in Manhattan. However, several sites in the rainforests of northeastern India, of west Africa and western Colombia are drenched by over 400 inches of precipitation per annum. To a large degree, rainfall in the tropics is determined by the so-called "Intertropical Convergence Zone" (ICZ), a band of clouds around the equator created by the meeting of the northeast and southeast trade winds. Also referred to as the "Monsoon Trough," and known to - and dreaded by - sailors over the centuries as the "Doldrums," since the extended periods of calm that sometimes manifested there could strand a sailing vessel for weeks. The constant cloud cover due to the ICZ, the ferocious heat, and the abundant rainfall combine to produce high humidity, sometimes close to 95 per cent in the Amazon, a challenge for visitors unused to such torpor. According to Rhett Butler of Mongabay: "Each canopy tree transpires 200 gallons of water annually, translating roughly into 20,000 gallons transpired into the atmosphere for every acre of canopy trees. Large rainforests (and their humidity) contribute to the formation of rain clouds, and generate as much as 75 per cent of their own rain and are therefore responsible for creating as much as 50 per cent of their own precipitation.""--
The palms are among the most abundant, diverse, and important families of plants found in the Amazon. Based on extensive field work, this book provides a systematic treatment of all palms that occur naturally in the Amazon region. Each species is exhaustively described with reviews of their distribution, habitat, and ecology. Introductory chapters describe the physical setting of the Amazon region as well as on the biogeography and ecology of the palm family. This first modern treatment of the 135 species of Amazon palms provides a definitive account of their ecology, uses, and biogeography. It will be welcomed by students, teachers, and researchers of botany, ecology, agronomy, and conservation biology.
This user-friendly and authoritative book will serve scientists, growers, and sightseers as a guide to the 67 genra and 550 species of naturally occurring palms found in the Americas. Its purpose is to give an introduction to the diversity of palms and allow almost anyone to identify a palm from this part of the world. Andrew Henderson is Assistant Scientist at the New York Botanical Garden. Gloria Galeano and Rodrigo Bernal are Assistant Professors at the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota. Originally published in 1995. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
William H. Edwards (1822-1909) was an American entomologist and naturalist whose work made a significant contribution to scientific study. First published in 1847, this is Edwards' personal account of his famous expedition to the Amazon basin. It relates his voyage from New York, short residence in the city of Pará and exploration of the local jungle. An expert observer, Edwards describes in fascinating detail the animals, plants and geography of the region, communicating his delight at each discovery. Highlights of the volume include vivid depictions of encounters with anacondas and electric eels, exotic fruits and birds, and observations on the customs of the local Portuguese and native populations. Intended for use by both the naturalist and the general reader, this book will captivate anyone interested in the history of travel and exploration, as well as the development of scientific study in the tropics.
A Voyage Up the River Amazon Including a Residence at Par