The Amazon River Forest: A Natural History of Plants, Animals, and People

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9780195126839: The Amazon River Forest: A Natural History of Plants, Animals, and People

The floodplain forest of the worlds mightiest river, the Amazon, is one of the last major agricultural frontiers. Inhabitants of this bountiful environment have long harvested its wealth of plant and animal resources for a wide array of products, especially fruits, nuts, building materials, fuelwood, and medicinal plants. While the Amazon floodplain has great potential for food production, this unique habitat, inundated every year to a depth of up to 30 feet, is increasingly threatened by ranching and agricultural expansion, and its natural resource base is being impaired by inappropriate land-use practices.

In this book, geographer Nigel Smith reviews the natural history of the area from the people's perspective, offering a large-scale portrayal of the culture of the region not found in most books on Amazonia. The book investigates how the ways in which people make a living are entwined with religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as with nature. Smith challenges the notion that the Amazon basin is a demographic void and a cultural backwater, arguing that the region, densely settled in the past, could again become a prosperous agricultural area. He points out that the local inhabitants' knowledge of the basins natural history is a vital--and sorely overlooked--resource for sound economic development. Topics explored include ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic issues surrounding animal husbandry, domestication of game, annual cropping, agroforestry, and the gathering of forest products. Examining the historical dimensions of various land uses, Smith suggests practical ways to develop the floodplain that enhance, rather than destroy, biodiversity.

A pathbreaking study, impeccably researched and beautifully illustrated, this book will interest a broad audience of individuals and organizations concerned with the development and conservation of rainforests and wetlands.

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About the Author:

Nigel Smith is Professor of Geography at the University of Florida. He has conducted field work in Amazonia for over a quarter of a century, and traveled widely in other parts of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The author of a dozen books, Smith consults with various organizations, including the World Bank, on sound practices for conservation and development.

Review:


"Author Smith is indeed a rainforest expert, but also writes in an engaging manner...This book is recommended very highly because of its unique coverage and slant. Biologists, political scientists, sociologists, and professionals involved in policy making, sustainable development, and saving rainforests will find this book most useful. Good illustrations."--Choice


"[The Amazon River Forest] was a pleasure to read - intriguing, thoughtful, and well balanced."--Sally Adkins, River Network


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Nigel J. H. Smith
Published by Oxford University Press Inc, United States (1999)
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 253 x 177 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The floodplain forest of the Amazon is the last major agricultural frontier of the Americas. This unique habitat, inundated in some places to a depth of thirty feet a year, contains a marvellous variety of plant and animal resources that inhabitants have long reaped-fruit, nuts, building materials, fuelwood, and medicinal plants. While the floodplain has great potential for food production, its natural resource base is becoming increasingly threatened by ranching and agricultural expansion and impaired by inappropriate land-use practices. This important book, based both on field observations carried out over the past quarter century and historical material, demonstrates that knowledge possessed by area dwellers offers vital insights for promoting the sound economic development of the floodplain. Nigel Smith argues for the importance of balance between land-use systems, and suggests that research and development should be realigned to incorporate both modern science and traditional systems.Beautifully illustrated with the author s own photographs, this authoritative volume explores a broad range of ecological, historical, cultural, and socioeconomic issues, and offers practical suggestions for developing the floodplain that enhance, rather than destroy, biodiversity. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780195126839

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 253 x 177 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The floodplain forest of the Amazon is the last major agricultural frontier of the Americas. This unique habitat, inundated in some places to a depth of thirty feet a year, contains a marvellous variety of plant and animal resources that inhabitants have long reaped-fruit, nuts, building materials, fuelwood, and medicinal plants. While the floodplain has great potential for food production, its natural resource base is becoming increasingly threatened by ranching and agricultural expansion and impaired by inappropriate land-use practices. This important book, based both on field observations carried out over the past quarter century and historical material, demonstrates that knowledge possessed by area dwellers offers vital insights for promoting the sound economic development of the floodplain. Nigel Smith argues for the importance of balance between land-use systems, and suggests that research and development should be realigned to incorporate both modern science and traditional systems.Beautifully illustrated with the author s own photographs, this authoritative volume explores a broad range of ecological, historical, cultural, and socioeconomic issues, and offers practical suggestions for developing the floodplain that enhance, rather than destroy, biodiversity. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780195126839

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