As the depredation of the planet's greatest storehouse of biodiversity-the Amazon region-continues apace, it is vitally important to understand the implications of the immense devastation the area has undergone. Describing the stunning diversity of plant an animal life found in and along the rivers, and showing how this wealth is being plundered, Floods of Fortune offers the first holistic view of the conservation drama unfolding in the Amazonian floodplain. Enriched with nearly 100 beautiful and arrested color photographs as well as an investigation of the cultural history of the region's human habitation, the book helps readers comprehend the complex environmental and social problems associated with Amazonian development and offers solutions that reconcile development with conservation.
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.