Ames Forester


Although enlightenment may have come to forestry students of the 1980's, my undergraduate days in the late 1960's at the University of Michigan contained little education in tropical forestry. I thought of forestry in Latin America in terms of vast rain forests or "jungles''. Disillusionment was rapid during two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1970's working with a United Nations agricultural diversification project in Costa Rica. While smaller than Iowa, Costa Rica has nineteen vegetation zones based on Holdridge's life zone classification. Within the 90 miles from Pacific to Alantic Oceans, forest communities change from the very dry savanna conditions, up the mountains to subalpine cloud forests and back down to the Alantic lowland rain forests with over 20 feet of annual precipitation. With this diversity, general statements about tropical forestry have little significance.



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