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For most of us, tropical forests are things we watch or read about from the comfort of our living rooms. Almost unanimously, these ‘jungle’ landscapes are painted as pristine and primordial prior to 21st century capitalist greed. As such, it is easy for us to imagine tropical forests as fascinating backdrops to exciting tales of exploration, places to get ‘Lost’ in, or far flung conservation battlefields that are ultimately ‘not our problem’. This book turns these stereotypes on their heads to show that tropical forests have always been intimately connected to the key cast members of Life on Earth, from the first plants, dinosaurs, and earliest mammals to humankind and its diverse societies.

Jungle will take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the cutting-edge scientific discoveries that have recast tropical forests as crucial to the history of our planet and our species. It shows us how these ‘jungles’ have acted as nurseries for our earliest ancestors, shaped Homo sapiens as it evolved and expanded Out of Africa, and housed some of the largest pre-industrial cities in the world. Today our everyday decisions in supermarkets and car showrooms impact tropical forests many miles away that, themselves, have the power to change our precipitation, temperature, and the air that we breathe. The Jungle Book provides a fascinating, first-hand insight into the science that is reinvigorating our appreciation of these environments as dynamic players in all of our pasts, presents, and futures.

This book will let you forge a new, intimate relationship with ‘jungle’ environments you thought you would never visit or care about but that, if you aren’t careful, you might lose forever.