Review also includes:
Rainforest Mammals, 978-0750234535
By ‘Rainforest’ this series means Tropical Rainforest, the denizens and extent of which these two samples consider. Within the framework of the shrinking and increasingly exploited rainforest, each volume deals with a section of the animal kingdom, its diversity, adaptation to habitat, and its situation and survival in the face of an increase in many kinds of human pressure.
Insects and Spiders shows us that 90% of these most successful animals live in our rainforests. Picturesque examples are not hard to come by and Parker ranges from the Hercules beetle to the thousands of ‘micromoths’ so small they have never been collected or named. Set against this is the observation that the rate of species-extinction amongst these creatures could be as great as 10,000 per annum. One might suppose, too, that new species will be evolving at a substantial rate.
While species loss among the anthropoids is seldom deliberately caused, with Mammals it’s a different story. You can eat mammals and the increasing proximity of large population centres to rainforests has resulted, Parker tells us, in an upsurge in the trade in ‘bush meat’. Add to that the traditional use of animal skins and other body parts and it’s easy to see why conservatory measures ranging from habitat preservation to CITES are deployed, and why the efforts by such as WWF to stabilise sustainable usage of tropical rainforests are to be applauded.
Parker has provided an excellently objective and authoritative text which persuades end-to-end reading. Photographs, being also the author’s work, are consequently truly illustrative of his thesis – and are of excellent quality too. Further volumes in the series deal with Birds, People, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Trees and Plants. These should all be welcome additions to public and school libraries.