Cover image for Encyclopedia of rainforests
Encyclopedia of rainforests
Jukofsky, Diane.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Oryx Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxxi, 328 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH86 .J85 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Explore the magic and mystery of the world's tropical rainforests in this fascinating volume that brings to life the plants, animals, and people that inhabit this fragile ecosystem. Focusing on the forests situated in the land area between the Tropics of Cancer and the Tropics of Capricorn, the Encyclopedia provides a rich and thorough presentation of the scientific, political, and economic significance of the region. An introductory essay vividly describes the world's tropical forests and sets the stage for understanding the mystery and complexity surrounding the rainforest. More than 50 percent of the world's known plants and animals live in the rainforests. Parts of the book offer interesting descriptions of forest wildlife including amphibians, birds, fish, insects, spiders, mammals, and reptiles and plants, especially flowering plants, ferns, and gymnosperms.

Entries in the People section cover 100 forest-dwelling indigenous groups and 54 of the naturalists, scientists, explorers, and activists from around the world who had--or have--an important role in our understanding of rainforests and their conservation. Other parts discuss the principal causes of deforestation, describe efforts to save the tropical forests, and offer extensive lists of rainforest resources, including print and video materials, Web sites, government agencies, conservation groups and international organizations, and organizations and government agencies in the United States and Canada. Maps, charts and graphs, and fifty-four quality color photographs enhance the accessible and easy-to-understand text and help to make this an excellent reference for younger audiences who want to learn about the incredible diversity and complexity of life in tropical forests.

Author Notes

DIANE JUKOFSKY is the director of the Rainforest Alliance's Conservation Media Center, which is based in San José, Costa Rica. She edits a bimonthly, bilingual news bulletin that features articles about conservation initiatives in Mexico and Central America. She also organizes and leads communication skills workshops for conservation groups in Latin America and the Caribbean, and environmental reporting training seminars for journalists in the region. Her articles on tropical conservation and wildlife have appeared in dozens of science, nature, travel, news, and academic publications, and she has authored chapters in two books about tropical conservation.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

On a topic that often calls forth large, lush books, here is a tightly produced volume teeming with short descriptions, definitions, and facts. Some entries are dictionary-like in their brevity, and others are up to a page long. The volume is divided into five main parts along with a preface and introductory essay accompanied by two maps and a table of the changes in the world's tropical rain forests. The introductory essay is exactly what it should be--an introduction to tropical rain forest locations, occupants, and ecology along with a statement of their value. The first part, "Tropical Forest Wildlife," is arranged alphabetically by animal class, order, family, and species, while the second part, "Tropical Forest Plants," includes descriptions of 261 plant families and species. "People and Tropical Forests" has brief descriptions of indigenous groups living in rain forests and biographical information on 54 naturalists, explorers, scientists, and activists important to rain forest conservation. "Saving Tropical Rainforests" has 27 entries on issues related to deforestation, from Agriculture to Wildlife research management. The last part, "Rainforest Resources," offers more than 50 pages of reference publications, periodicals, videos, and postal and e-mail addresses for government agencies and organizations. The reference publications are grouped to match the organization of the rest of the volume and include URLs if the information is available electronically. The book's organization makes the detailed index imperative. It is only by using the index that one can locate animals and plants by their common names, because they are listed by their scientific names in the text. With a few exceptions, illustrations are confined to a 16-page section of color plates. The major value of this book is that it collects and organizes some of the significant rain forest species, people, and resources in one volume and then points the way to finding more information. It should be considered by academic and large public libraries. For school libraries, Marshall Cavendish's lavishly illustrated 11-volume Rain Forests of the World [RBB Ap 15 02] will have more appeal.

Library Journal Review

Jukofsky is director of the Conservation Media Center for the Rainforest Alliance in Costa Rica, an organization dedicated to the promotion of the rainforest as a renewable resource. She devotes a large portion of this text to concise descriptions of those rainforest plants and animals now facing extinction, drawing on articles she has previously collected and field guides like Louise H. Emmons's Neotropical Rainforest Mammals and Doris M. Cochran's Living Amphibians of the World. In this reviewer's area primates the author has skimmed the surface, providing size and color, with one or two facts about behavior or anatomy for about 25 of the 250 primate species, with slightly longer write-ups for the apes. The listings are accurate but fall short of the elaborate information available in field guides. Nevertheless, the text as a whole, which also includes sections on peoples, noted naturalists, and conservation efforts, as well as an extensive bibliography, provides a fine introduction to the world of the rainforest and would be appreciated by any high school/undergraduate library. For academic and larger collections, John Kricher's A Neotropical Companion (Princeton Univ., 1997) serves as an introduction to plants and animals, and Thomas T. Struksaker's Ecology of an African Rain Forest (Univ. Pr. of Florida, 1997) offers an in-depth perspective on rainforest conservation. (Photos not seen.) Raymond Hamel, Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Ctr. Lib., Madison (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Jukofsky's subject encyclopedia surveys the flora, fauna, and native peoples of the tropical rainforest, including 261 families of plants and 818 taxonomic groups of animals. The work has five parts: tropical forest wildlife, tropical forest plants, people and tropical forests, saving tropical forests, and rainforest resources. Topics are arranged alphabetically; within the plant and animal sections, related articles are arranged taxonomically. A detailed subject/species index pulls the work together. The articles are relatively short (most are one-third to one-half column), and each includes one or two references. The organism articles focus on natural history, and the breezy writing style makes them very accessible to general readers. The section on people includes significant explorers and scientists, as well as indigenous peoples. The brief section on conservation is oriented toward possible solutions to tropical deforestation. The final section on rainforest resources includes directory information for a wide variety of state and private organizations, together with bibliographies of major works consulted, magazines, newsletters, and videos. The work is not illustrated except for a few pages of color illustrations in the center of the volume. Recommended for general reference collections at all levels. B. E. Fleury Tulane University

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Tropical Forests: Understanding a Mysterious Place on the Planet
The World's Tropical Forests: Where They Are; How Much is Left; How Fast They Are Vanishing
Tropical Forest Wildlife Amphibians
Arachnids Birds Fish Insects Mammals Reptiles
Tropical Forest Plants in the Kingdom of Green
Angiosperms: the Flowering Plants
Gymnosperms: Conifers, Cycads, and Ghentophtes
Pteridophytes: the Ferns People Forest-Dwelling Indigenous Groups
Naturalists, Explorers, Scientists and Activists Saving Tropical Forests Imaginative Experiments and Practical Solutions
Mother Nature Wants You! Rainforest Resources
Reference Publications Magazines, Newsletters, and Reports Videos
Embassies and Government Agencies
Conservation Groups and International Organizations
Organizations and Government Agencies in the United States and Canada