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GOULDING, M., BARTHEM, R. & FERREIRA, E. (2003)

The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon.

256 Seiten, 150 Landkarten, 289 Fotos.
Smithsonian Books, Wafington & London. ISBN 1-58834-135-6.

Aus Buchbesprechung von A. Barnett:

AMAZONIA is a place of superlatives: the world’s largest river running through the greatest single expanse of rainforest, containing the most diverse freshwater fish communities and some of the most species-rich lowland forests. As the hydraulic system of the region, it drains about 40 per cent of South America. But the problem with superlatives is that their power wears off with repetition: people’s eyes soon glaze rather than shine.

This is the book to revive even the most jaded, to put a shine back in anyone’s eyes. Michael Goulding of the Amazon Conservation Alliance is one of the foremost experts on Amazonia’s fish, Ronaldo Barthem is a biologist with the Goeldi Museum in Belém, Brazil, and Efrem Ferreira is a fisheries ecologist with the National Institute for Amazonian Research in Manaus, Brazil, so the focus of The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon is the waters rather than the trees.

Goulding explores the river’s patterns of biodiversity, intriguing evolutionary and geological questions and forms of human exploitation. The large numbers are there, but appear in ways that stick in the memory rather than bludgeon it with zeros. Try this: one hour’s flow of the Amazon is enough to meet all the freshwater needs of New York for a year, and a year’s worth would drown France to a depth of 3 metres (a notion doubtless dear to some of the Smithsonian’s closest neighbours).

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