The Ecology and Conservation of Seasonally Dry Forests in Asia

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9781935623021: The Ecology and Conservation of Seasonally Dry Forests in Asia
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Seasonally dry forests are the most widespread forest type remaining in South and Southeast Asia. For many endangered species, such as tigers, elephants, deer and primates, this unique habitat is central to their survival. These forests are also intimately linked to humans in the region, who have lived in and relied on them for centuries. Despite the importance of seasonally dry forests, little is known of their ecology. The essays in this volume draw the connections between forest communities, endangered species, and agricultural communities in the region. The contributors, many of whom are in-country researchers and managers who have spent years studying this ecosystem, provide an overview of the ecology of seasonally dry forests in Asia, descriptions of forest and agricultural communities within seasonally dry forests, case studies for the species dependent on these ecosystems, such as tigers, elephants, deer, banteng, and gibbons and discuss effective management and conservation of seasonally dry forests.

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About the Author:

William J. McShea is research ecologist at the Conservation Ecology Center in the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Smithsonian Institution. Stuart James Davies is director of Asia Programs at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. Naris Bhumpakphan is associate professor in the Department of Forest Biology at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand.

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The seasonal tropics of Asia have been the mainspring of some of the greatest agrarian civilizations; its dry forests the source of fuel and succor to cattle for millennia. Yet the conquest of malaria, especially, has resulted in human pressures never previously experienced. This timely book brings knowledge of forest ecology and sociology, heretofore fragmented by political borders, into an integrated and thoroughly modern scientific review supported by important new data, while focusing on the challenge of sustainable management. (Peter Ashton, Harvard University)

Tropical rain forests seem to get most of the attention, but this book puts the seasonally dry forests back on the agenda. An outstanding group of authors sheds new light on many of the keystone species involved, ranging from tigers to elephants and three species of bears. Even more helpful is the attention given to the role of people in both maintaining these habitats and benefitting from them. Climate change is likely to have significant impacts on these forests, so having a baseline of solid science will help give future studies a sound basis for comparison, and for conservation. This is a timely and welcome contribution to the understanding of Asia's great diversity of forest ecosystems. (Jeffrey A. McNeely, Senior Science Advisor, IUCN)

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