Synopses & Reviews
The last traces of Australia's tropical rainforest, where the southeasterly winds bring rain to the coastal mountains, contain a unique assemblage of plants and animals, some primitive, many that are found nowhere else on earth. And fifteen years ago, they also contained Bill Laurance, a budding ecologist seduced by the nature of the landscape in north Queensland. Laurance isn't your typical scientist: he wears cut-offs instead of white coats, enjoys the occasional food fight, and isn't afraid to speak his mind, even if it gets him into trouble, as it often did in the Australian rainforest and as he recounts in his marvelous Queensland journal Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles
As Laurance writes in the preface, the book is "not a typical account about scientific researchand#8212;at least I hope not, for my colleagues' sake. Rather, it is a story about the joys and agonies of fieldwork, about zany characters and a wild clash of cultures." Laurance did his fieldwork and encountered these characters and cultures in a tiny town of loggers and farmers, a place where conservation issues have a direct impact on individual lives. He found himself at the center of a bitter battle over conservation strategies and became not only the subject of small-town gossip but also the object of many residents' hatred. Keeping ahead of his high-spirited young volunteers, hounded by the drug-sniffing local policeman, and all the while trying to further his own research amid natural and unnatural obstacles, Laurance offers us a personal and hilarious account of fieldwork and life in the Australian outpost of Millaa Millaa. Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles is a biology lesson, a conservation primer, and an utterly energetic story about an impressionable young man who wound up at the epicenter of an issue that tore a small town apart.
Preface1. Assault from Above2. Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles3. Friendly Leeches4. The Mystery of the Day-Glo Rats5. Invasion of Millaa Millaa6. Rainforest Politics7. Gone Troppo8. The Higher-Mammal Crew9. Something's in the Bathtu 10. Old Harry11. The Wet Season12. Jenny13. The World Heritage Controversy14. Joh Starts His Run15. Right in the Thick of It16. The Rat Trials17. Guerilla Warfare18. New Guinea19. Missionaries, Mercenaries, and Misfits20. The Togobas21. Return to OzPostscriptRainforest Conservation OrganizationsGlossarySpecies Mentioned in the TextSuggested Readings
A biologist records the time he spent in a remote area of Australia's tropical rainforest, and his run-ins with plant, animal, and human species alike. Photos and illustrations.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -196).
About the Author
William Laurance is a senior research scientist with the Smithsonian Institution and Brazil's National Institute for Amazonian Research. The recipient of the American Society of Mammalogists Award for his work on tropical forest fragmentation, he is the lead editor of Tropical Forest Remnants.
Table of Contents
1. Assault from Above
2. Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles
3. Friendly Leeches
4. The Mystery of the Day-Glo Rats
5. Invasion of Millaa Millaa
6. Rainforest Politics
7. Gone Troppo
8. The Higher-Mammal Crew
9. Something's in the Bathtub
10. Old Harry
11. The Wet Season
13. The World Heritage Controversy
14. Joh Starts His Run
15. Right in the Thick of It
16. The Rat Trials
17. Guerilla Warfare
18. New Guinea
19. Missionaries, Mercenaries, and Misfits
20. The Togobas
21. Return to Oz
Rainforest Conservation Organizations
Species Mentioned in the Text