A Magic Web

A Magic Web : The Tropical Forest of Barro Colorado Island

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The tropical forest of Panama's Barro Colorado Island is a luxuriant community of plants and animals, pulsating with life and offering an astonishing view of nature's myriad processes. What does the forest look like? How do the activities of this forest's plants and animals create a community? Now, in A Magic Web, photographer Christian Ziegler and ecologist Egbert Leigh invite readers to enter the marvelous world of Barro Colorado Island. This book provides a unique combination of the spectacular photography of a picture-book and clear, authoritative text written by an active scientist who has spent half a lifetime trying to understand tropical forests. The photographs provide views of the forest and its spectacular diversity of inhabitants, and show many of the activities that give the forest its character and lend structure to its community. Drawing on decades of work on Barro Colorado Island, Egbert Leigh explains how the forest works. The photographs and text reveal the many ways its plants and animals compete with but also depend on each other: the contrasts between solitary cats and intricately organized armies of ants; the different ways plants struggle for a place in the sun, and the ways these plants attract, or domesticate, animals to pollinate their flowers. Finally, the authors show why this, and by implication all other, tropical forests matter to the people who live near them and to the world at large, what we can learn from these forests, and how they differ from temperate-zone forests. Full of gorgeous full-color photographs accompanied by clear and accessible text,A Magic Web is a must for anyone planning to visit a tropical forest, and for all those who only wish they could.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 292 pages
  • 236 x 302 x 28mm | 1,741.79g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195143280
  • 9780195143287

Review quote

"You will learn more reading this volume than on a personal visit to the tropics. This book is the best summary of the tropical ecosystem and the behavior of its inhabitants. It shows how this system works. Both your sense of beauty and your thirst for understanding will be satisfied abundantly."--Ernst Mayr"This tour of a lush, forested island in Panama is a mostly successful blend of coffee-table nature book and science narrative on tropical ecology. Photographer Ziegler and ecologist Leigh spent more than a year on Barro Colorado Island trying to capture the essence of what makes the island a priceless jewel, to 'lift the green curtain' on the rainforest. Through words and pictures, the interconnectedness of all living things on the island becomes apparent. Wild nutmeg trees depend on toucans for seed dispersal; herbivorous insects keep the leafy biomass under control; bats, in turn, eat the insects. Each species is intimately involved with the next, and Ziegler offers some amazing close-up shots of these evolutionary partnerships in action.... A wealth of information and images for rainforest enthusiasts."--Publishers Weekly"Tropical forests constitute the greatest challenge in natural history photography today. The potential for stunning images is enormous, but the day-to-day problems are daunting. By focusing his unusual combination of knowledge, perseverance and artistry on one small island in Panama over an extended period of time, Christian Ziegler has confirmed that tropical forests are the richest biome on earth, and the wonders accumulate when you slow yourself down. This is a special collection of images, which belongs on the bookshelves of those who already appreciate their significance and those who need to."--Frans Lanting, author of Jungles"Christian Ziegler's stunning photographs of the plants and animals of Barro Colorado's tropical forest gave me a new perspective of a world I thought I knew well. I am awed by his talent; his pictures are an inspiration, as much art as they are portraits in natural history. Egbert Leigh's accompanying text is cerebral, witty, and full of answers to the 100 most common questions a novice nature lover might write down after a stroll through a tropical forest. I can't think of a better introduction to this captivating and threatened world."--Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund"A Magic Web is as subversive as a camouflaged Morpho butterfly. One moment you are looking at the dead leaf of a page, the next moment, you are chasing brilliant blue flashing wings through the forest and the next, you find you have learned all the fundamental principles of rainforest ecology. Egbert Leigh's deft touch and satirical metaphors lead you irresistibly onward, to see how competition and cooperation together shape the intricacy of species, and of science, in the magic rainforest of Barro Colorado." --Alison Jolly, author of Lucy's Legacy "You will learn more reading this volume than on a personal visit to the tropics. This book is the best summary of the tropical ecosystem and the behavior of its inhabitants. It shows how this system works. Both your sense of beauty and your thirst for understanding will be satisfied abundantly."--Ernst Mayr "This tour of a lush, forested island in Panama is a mostly successful blend of coffee-table nature book and science narrative on tropical ecology. Photographer Ziegler and ecologist Leigh spent more than a year on Barro Colorado Island trying to capture the essence of what makes the island a priceless jewel, to 'lift the green curtain' on the rainforest. Through words and pictures, the interconnectedness of all living things on the island becomes apparent. Wild nutmeg trees depend on toucans for seed dispersal; herbivorous insects keep the leafy biomass under control; bats, in turn, eat the insects. Each species is intimately involved with the next, and Ziegler offers some amazing close-up shots of these evolutionary partnerships in action.... A wealth of information and images for rainforest enthusiasts."--Publishers Weekly "Tropical forests constitute the greatest challenge in natural history photography today. The potential for stunning images is enormous, but the day-to-day problems are daunting. By focusing his unusual combination of knowledge, perseverance and artistry on one small island in Panama over an extended period of time, Christian Ziegler has confirmed that tropical forests are the richest biome on earth, and the wonders accumulate when you slow yourself down. This is a special collection of images, which belongs on the bookshelves of those who alreadyappreciate their significance and those who need to."--Frans Lanting, author of Jungles "Christian Ziegler's stunning photographs of the plants and animals of Barro Colorado's tropical forest gave me a new perspective of a world I thought I knew well. I am awed by his talent; his pictures are an inspiration, as much art as they are portraits in natural history. Egbert Leigh's accompanying text is cerebral, witty, and full of answers to the 100 most common questions a novice nature lover might write down after a stroll through a tropical forest. I can't think of a better introduction to this captivating and threatened world."--Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund "A Magic Web is as subversive as a camouflaged Morpho butterfly. One moment you are looking at the dead leaf of a page, the next moment, you are chasing brilliant blue flashing wings through the forest and the next, you find you have learned all the fundamental principles of rainforest ecology. Egbert Leigh's deft touch and satirical metaphors lead you irresistibly onward, to see how competition and cooperation together shape the intricacy of species, and of science, in the magic rainforest of Barro Colorado." --Alison Jolly, author of Lucy's Legacy "You will learn more reading this volume than on a personal visit to the tropics. This book is the best summary of the tropical ecosystem and the behavior of its inhabitants. It shows how this system works. Both your sense of beauty and your thirst for understanding will be satisfied abundantly."--Ernst Mayr "This tour of a lush, forested island in Panama is a mostly successful blend of coffee-table nature book and science narrative on tropical ecology. Photographer Ziegler and ecologist Leigh spent more than a year on Barro Colorado Island trying to capture the essence of what makes the island a priceless jewel, to 'lift the green curtain' on the rainforest. Through words and pictures, the interconnectedness of all living things on the island becomes apparent. Wild nutmeg trees depend on toucans for seed dispersal; herbivorous insects keep the leafy biomass under control; bats, in turn, eat the insects. Each species is intimately involved with the next, and Ziegler offers some amazing close-up shots of these evolutionary partnerships in action.... A wealth of information and images for rainforest enthusiasts."--Publishers Weekly "Tropical forests constitute the greatest challenge in natural history photography today. The potential for stunning images is enormous, but the day-to-day problems are daunting. By focusing his unusual combination of knowledge, perseverance and artistry on one small island in Panama over an extended period of time, Christian Ziegler has confirmed that tropical forests are the richest biome on earth, and the wonders accumulate when you slow yourself down. This is a special collection of images, which belongs on the bookshelves of those who already appreciate their significance and those who need to."--Frans Lanting, author of Jungles "Christian Ziegler's stunning photographs of the plants and animals of Barro Colorado's tropical forest gave me a new perspective of a world I thought I knew well. I am awed by his talent; his pictures are an inspiration, as much art as they are portraits in natural history. Egbert Leigh's accompanying text is cerebral, witty, and full of answers to the 100 most common questions a novice nature lover might write down after a stroll through a tropical forest. I can't think of a better introduction to this captivating and threatened world."--Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist, World Wildlife Fund "A Magic Web is as subversive as a camouflaged Morpho butterfly. One moment you are looking at the dead leaf of a page, the next moment, you are chasing brilliant blue flashing wings through the forest and the next, you find you have learned all the fundamental principles of rainforest ecology. Egbert Leigh's deft touch and satirical metaphors lead you irresistibly onward, to see how competition and cooperation together shape the intricacy of species, and of science, in the magic rainforest of Barro Colorado." --Alison Jolly, author of Lucy's Legacy "You will learn more reading this volume than on a personal visit to the tropics. This book is the best summary of the tropical ecosystem and the behavior of its inhabitants. It shows how this system works. Both your sense of beauty and your thirst for understanding will be satisfiedabundantly."--Ernst Mayr"This tour of a lush, forested island in Panama is a mostly successful blend of coffee-table nature book and science narrative on tropical ecology. Photographer Ziegler and ecologist Leigh spent more than a year on Barro Colorado Island trying to capture the essence of what makes the island apriceless jewel, to 'lift the green curtain' on the rainforest. Through words and pictures, the interconnectedness of all living things on the island becomes apparent. Wild nutmeg trees depend on toucans for seed dispersal; herbivorous insects keep the leafy biomass under control; bats, in turn, eatthe insects. Each species is intimately involved with the next, and Ziegler offers some amazing close-up shots of these evolutionary partnerships in action.... A wealth of information and images for rainforest enthusiasts."--Publishers Weekly"Tropical forests constitute the greatest challenge in natural history photography today. The potential for stunning images is enormous, but the day-to-day problems are daunting. By focusing his unusual combination of knowledge, perseverance and artistry on one small island in Panama over anextended period of time, Christian Ziegler has confirmed that tropical forests are the richest biome on earth, and the wonders accumulate when you slow yourself down. This is a special collection of images, which belongs on the bookshelves of those whoalready appreciate their significance andthose who need to."--Frans Lanting, author of Jungles"Christian Ziegler's stunning photographs of the plants and animals of Barro Colorado's tropical forest gave me a new perspective of a world I thought I knew well. I am awed by his talent; his pictures are an inspiration, as much art as they are portraits in natural history. Egbert Leigh'saccompanying text is cerebral, witty, and full of answers to the 100 most common questions a novice nature lover might write down after a stroll through a tropical forest. I can't think of a better introduction to this captivating and threatened world."--Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist, WorldWildlife Fund"A Magic Web is as subversive as a camouflaged Morpho butterfly. One moment you are looking at the dead leaf of a page, the next moment, you are chasing brilliant blue flashing wings through the forest and the next, you find you have learned all the fundamental principles of rainforest ecology.Egbert Leigh's deft touch and satirical metaphors lead you irresistibly onward, to see how competition and cooperation together shape the intricacy of species, and of science, in the magic rainforest of Barro Colorado." --Alison Jolly, author of Lucy's Legacyshow more

About Egbert Giles Leigh

Christian Ziegler is a free-lance nature and wildlife photographer, now associated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, more of whose work can be viewed at www.naturphoto.de. Egbert Giles Leigh, Jr. is a Biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the author of Tropical Forest Ecology (OUP).show more

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