John Terborgh, who has worked in the Peruvian Amazon since 1973, is Research Professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke and Director of its Center for Tropical Conservation. His latest book, co-edited with James A. Estes, is Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature.
 (April 2012)


Out of Contact

Sydney Possuelo (right), founder and director of Brazil’s Department of Isolated Indians, with members of the Korubo tribe in the Amazon River basin, 2002

The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes

by Scott Wallace
Incredible as it may seem, and there may be no greater anachronism on earth, there are still “wild” human beings living in some of the remotest corners of the tropics. Most are around the fringes of the Amazon in the border regions of Brazil, especially in neighboring Perú where there are suspected of being at least fifteen uncontacted groups.

Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

Drax Power Station, a coal-fired power plant in Yorkshire, England, 2008

Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet

by Tim Flannery
Here is the anguished cry of another distinguished scientist distressed by our collective incapacity to grasp the enormity of the earth’s looming environmental crisis. It has been obvious for a long time—many decades—to legions of individual scientists, and to prestigious scientific organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists and the …

Why We Must Bring Back the Wolf

A red wolf pup (Canis rufus) netted for handling at a captive-breeding facility in Washington State

Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution

by Caroline Fraser
Caroline Fraser’s book Rewilding the World is a call to retrofit more than a century of nature conservation in the United States and around the world. Why, at this late date, is it so important that we redesign the global conservation system? Conservationists are rightly proud of their collective accomplishment …

The World Is in Overshoot

Albert Bierstadt: Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, 1868

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery

by Steve Nicholls
Steve Nicholls is a wildlife film producer and through practicing his art has seen a lot more of nature than most of us ever will. Alarmed by the declines he had perceived in twenty-five years of looking at the natural world through a lens, he turned to writing to lay …

The Green vs. the Brown Amazon

The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization

by Mark London and Brian Kelly
One of the first things any Brazilian tells a foreigner is that Brazil is really two countries: the south and the north. With a highly educated population of predominantly European origin, the south, with its two great cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is becoming an agricultural and …