La Selva: Ecology and Natural History of a Neotropical Rain Forest

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Manufacturer Description

La Selva, a nature reserve and field station in Costa Rica, is one of
the most intensively studied and best-understood tropical field sites
in the world. For over thirty years, La Selva has been a major focus
of research on rainforest ecology, flora, and fauna. This volume
provides the first comprehensive review of this research, covering La
Selva's geographical history and physical setting, its plant and
animal life, and agricultural development and land use.

Drawing together a wealth of information never before available in a
single volume, La Selva offers a substantive treatment of the
ecology of a rainforest. Part 1 summarizes research on the physical
setting and environment of the rainforest, as well as the history of
the research station. Some chapters in this part focus on climate,
geomorphology, and aquatic systems, while others look at soils,
nutrient acquisition, and cycles of energy.

Part 2 synthesizes what is known about the plant community. It begins
with chapters on vegetation types and plant diversity, and also
explores plant demography, spatial patterns of trees, and the impact
of treefall gaps on forest structure and dynamics. Other chapters
address plant physiological ecology, as well as plant reproductive
systems.

Part 3 covers the animal community, summarizing information on the six
best-known animal taxa of the region: fishes, amphibians, reptiles,
birds, mammals, and butterflies. This part includes an overview of
faunal studies at La Selva and a chapter on animal population biology,
which examines animal demography and abundance, and interactions
between predators and prey. Part 4 addresses interactions between
plants and animals and the effects of these interactions on species
diversity.

Part 5 considers the impact of land use and agricultural development
on La Selva and other areas of Costa Rica. One chapter examines land
colonization and conservation in Sarapiqui, another covers subsistence
and commercial agricultural development in the Atlantic lowlands
region, and a third looks at the forest industry in northeastern Costa
Rica. This part also assesses the role and research priorities of La
Selva.

La Selva provides an introduction to tropical ecology for
students and researchers at La Selva, a major source of comparative
information for biologists working in other tropical areas, and a
valuable resource for conservationists.

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