Essays on the Forests of Tropical Asia
Tropical rainforest at Danum Valley, Sabah. Photo: J. Gregson.
Peter Ashton has worked in the tropical forests of every country in Asia, Nepal and Laos excepted. This is a rare privilege, and has provided him with a coherent view of the region's forest ecology and biogeography not previously documented. It has also, since 1984, provided the opportunity to parsimoniously select paradigmatic sites for long term tree demographic and forest dynamic research, each with in-country collaborating workers and institutions. These are now embodied in a global partnership, the Center for Tropical Forest Science of the Smithsonian Tropical research Institute (CTFS), the Asian part of which remains coordinated and funded out of Harvard's Arnold Arboretum. From October 2005, work started on a book aimed at bringing this field experience together in context of current literature on tropical forests. It is planned to publish it in two forms: one, handsomely illustrated in colour with the collaboration of nature photographer Hans van Hazebroek (Kuching), will provide context for the design for the CTFS enterprise in Asia, and will be aimed at colleagues and interested amateurs. The other, devoid of colour and printed cheaply, but to which a discussion of unanswered questions and how they might be addressed is added to each chapter, will be aimed at graduate students in the region and beyond. An initial text has been drafted based solely on personal work and field experience. The project is expected to be completed in two years, and will be making heavy use of the Kew library.
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