Cover image for Green Phoenix : restoring the tropical forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Green Phoenix : restoring the tropical forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Allen, William, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xx, 310 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB484.C8 A44 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Can we prevent the destruction of the world's tropical forests? In the fire-scarred hills of Costa Rica, award-winning science writer William Allen found a remarkable answer: we can not only prevent their destruction--we can bring them back to their former glory. In Green Phoenix, Allen tells the gripping story of a large group of Costa Rican and American scientists and volunteers who set out to save the tropical forests in the northwestern section of the country. It was an area badly damaged by the fires of ranchers and small farmers; in many places afew strands of forest strung across a charred landscape. Despite the widely held belief that tropical forests, once lost, are lost forever, the team led by the dynamic Daniel Janzen from the University of Pennsylvania moved relentlessly ahead, taking a broad array of political, ecological, andsocial steps necessary for restoration. They began with 39 square miles and, by 2000, they had stitched together and revived some 463 square miles of land and another 290 of marine area. Today this region is known as the Guanacaste Conservation Area, a fabulously rich landscape of dry forest, cloudforest, and rain forest that gives life to some 235,000 species of plants and animals. It may be the greatest environmental success of our time, a prime example of how extensive devastation can be halted and reversed. This is an inspiring story, and in recounting it, Allen writes with vivid power. He creates lasting images of pristine beaches and dense forest and captures the heroics and skill of the scientific teams, especially the larger-than-life personality of the maverick ecologist Daniel Janzen. Itis a book everyone concerned about the environment will want to own.

Author Notes

William Allen is an independent journalist and Senior Fellow with the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologue: The Contrafuegop. xiii
Part I In the Place of the Tree with Ears
1. The Nucleusp. 3
2. Canon del Tigrep. 15
3. The Ant and the Acaciap. 27
4. The Tree with Earsp. 48
5. The Fires of Guanacastep. 69
6. The Living Deadp. 77
7. The Battle Planp. 87
Part II Advancing through the World of Wounds
8. A Tropical Christmas Cataloguep. 105
9. Earthquakesp. 120
10. Little Dancesp. 138
11. The Clifftop and the Volcanop. 151
12. Home Runsp. 160
13. The Green Magicianp. 175
14. Touch of the Money Spiderp. 187
Part III The Rising Phoenix
15. Area de Conservacion Guanacastep. 201
16. A Time of Warp. 215
17. The Vigilantp. 235
18. Life Jacketsp. 250
Epilogue: Lessons from a Tropical Kitty Hawkp. 265
Bibliographyp. 287
Indexp. 299