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 the forest's plants and animals create a community?
In A Magic Web, photographer Christian Ziegler and evolutionary biologist Egbert Giles Leigh, Jr., invite readers to enter the marvelous world of Barro Colorado Island. This book is a unique combination of spectacular photography and clear, authoritative text written by an active scientist who has spent half a lifetime trying to understand the tropical forest. Luscious photographs of the forest reveal the wonderful diversity of its inhabitants and show many of the activities that give it its character and lend structure to its community. Drawing on decades of work on Barro Colorado Island, Egbert Leigh explains how the forest works: how plants and animals compete with but also depend on each other; how the solitary lives of cats contrast with the intricately organized lives of armies of ants; the variety of ways plants struggle for a place in the sun; and how these plants attract animals to pollenate their flowers. Finally, the book shows the importance of tropical forests to the people living near them, why they matter to the world at large, what we can learn from them, and how they differ from temperate-zone forests.
Full of stunning 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 wish they could.