Huettmann, F and Schmid, MS (2015)
in: Huettmann F. (ed.) Central American Biodiversity: Conservation, Ecology, and a Sustainable Future. Springer, New York, pp 1-23. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2208-6_1
Publication year: 2015

There is more to the picture than meets the eye.

—a common saying


1.1 Introduction

The tropics eternally fascinate us. But tropical land- and seascapes mean many

things for many people (Forsyth and Miyata 1987; Kricher and Plotkin 1999). For

some, they can be a great home, a wonderful holiday, and a study site, while for

others they constitute a miserable life (with an average daily income of US$ 4) in a

life-threatening habitat (Collier 2007; Davis 2007). It is not an overstatement to say

that in the tropics, one can die easily. To the rest of the world, however, the tropics

still represent a land of opportunity (a “lebensraum”; Figs. 1.2 and 1.3)…..