The Great Bear Rainforest: Canada's Forgotten Coast Hardcover – Sep 1 1997
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From School Library Journal
YA-Magnificent photographs and crisp prose make a powerful statement about the need to protect the largest tract of intact temperate rainforest on Earth. Until the authors embarked on their sailing odyssey from the northern border of the United States to the panhandle of Alaska, no one had undertaken an environmental inventory of the western Canadian coastline. This area is the home of the coastal grizzly bear and teems with wildlife and old-growth trees. The grizzly's dwindling numbers indicate the historic decline of natural wilderness throughout a sizable portion of the northwestern hemisphere. The authors make the case that only by protecting very large tracts of this coastline from logging and mining can the character of this environment be preserved. At first glance, this work might appear to be another coffee-table book, but its main purpose is to inform and motivate. The panoramic views, intimate shots of flora and fauna, chronicle of the social history of the area, and generous maps make this title beautiful as well as timely. It is unfortunate that the index merely lists references to locations noted in the text rather than to biological information, which would have made it more useful for research.
Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Ian McAllister is a nature photographer, writer and conservationist who has dedicated his life to exploring the remote wilds of the BC coast. Ian is a founding member of the Raincoast Conservation Society, and his images have appeared in numerous publications including International Wildlife, BBC Wildlife, Audubon, Sierra, and Beautiful British Columbia. The Great Bear Rainforest is his first book.
Karen McAllister is a conservationist with a special interest in the flora of BC's mainland coast. Born and raised in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, she studied biology and environmental studies at the University of Victoria. She is a founding member of the Raincoast Conservation Society. The Great Bear Rainforest is her first book.
Cameron Young teaches journalism at the University of Victoria and is an environmental writier specializing in ancient temperate rainforest. He is the author of Clayoquot on the Wild Side and the award-winning Forests of British Columbia. He assisted Ian and Karen McAllister in the writing of The Great Bear Rainforest: Canada's Forgotten Coast, the winner of the Bill Duthie Booksellers Choice Award for BC Book of the Year.
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This is a beautifully done book with many fascinating photographs of rainforest topography and the diverse life forms which abide therein. The accompanying text is well-written and consistently informative and interesting. But the overarching theme here is that pristine environments which are critical to the survival of untold species of flora and fauna are in jeopardy. Grave jeopardy. Moreover, the McAllisters take great pains to point out that the small islands of preserved and protected ecosystem created in compromise between commercial interests and environmentalists are insufficent to protect wildlife (bears, for example) that depend upon an interlinked vastness of unspoiled terrain in which to flourish.
So this book is as much an alarm and a plea for action as it is a wondrous presentation of its picturesque subject matter. As such, it is urgent reading for those of us concerned about the ravages unleashed when a society values short-term economic advantage (as when untouched river valleys are clear-cut by logging companies) over the work nature takes eons to complete.
Then, years later, I stumbled upon this book. WOW. That about sums it up. This is an amazing book about a place of transcendent, almost ethereal beauty. This book is an enchanting mix of imminently readable and interesting text and absolutely stunning photographs. It almost makes you feel like you are there, immersed in this incredible rain drenched emerald cathedral of trees.
The Great Bear Rainforest is located on the British Columbia coast. It starts a few miles north of Lund and extends all the way north in Canada to the BC's northernmost limit, around Port Rupert, and extends only a few miles inland. It is home to the largest remaining contiguous temperate rain forest anywhere in the world. You probably already know this, but a temperate rain forest is much different than a tropical rain forest because of climate. Temperate rain forests are cool and moist, whereas tropical ones are hot and moist. Anyway, enough of the obvious.
What I really like about this book is that it isn't a condescending piece of fluff, and it gave me *exactly* what I wanted from it. Even though it's no easily readable, it is no fluff piece that waxes prettily poetic but doesn't really tell you anything. It takes you on an incredibly detailed tour of nearly every major rain forest valley in the Great Bear Rainforest. And it doesn't just name-drop valleys that have no meaning to you, it provides you with maps that show exactly where it is that they are talking about. I think this is the greatest feature of the book, I've read too many books about geographical places that tell you the names of certain interesting areas, but you don't quite know where they are. Not so with this book.
Not only that, the book covers a wide range of topics concerning The Great Bear Rainforest. Ecology, economic pressures, animal and plant life, geography, even a lot of interesting history and contemporary issues concerning the First Nation (who we in the U.S. refer to as Native American) tribes who traditionally lived (and still live) in and around the Great Bear Rainforest. I found the parts about the Haida tribe to be particularly edifying. All of these facts and themes are woven into the narrative of the authors' journey through the Great Bear Rainforest (which spans many years) incredibly seamlessly - you might think it's difficult to talk about the flora and fauna of the area while giving a history lesson on the Tlinglit people, but like I said, this point interweaves all points flawlessly. It also does social justice by presenting an unflinching look at the environmental horrors that await the Great Bear Rainforest through resource extraction and recreation at the hands of an apathetic public if current trends remain unchecked.
And then there are the photos. Gorgeous. Vast stands of huge, majestic trees, so much green it's almost blinding; a spirit bear chowing down on salmon in an unbelievable action shot; stunning shots of a coastline where fjord and mountain come together; and of course, the grand British Columbia ocean itself.
This book is a real gem. It's crime more people haven't had a chance to go through it. Read it. Take your time, don't just skim through it and goggle over the pictures. Trust me, the time will be worth it, you'll be glad you did. A must-have for anyone who considers themselves an environmentalist, a nature lover, and especially for people who have stood in awe in a temperate rain forest and said "I need to know more."
The landscape photos feature vibrant wildflowers, ancient forests, & mountains. There are also many remarkable pictures of several bear types. I loved the close-up shot of a bear eating a fish & another of a sprit bear on a log.
Stunning photos of some other animals include a puffin close-up, a bald eagle mother with baby, & an elephant seal gathering. If you can tear yourself away from the pictures, the text is equally impressive.
The authors tell of their experiences while exploring the rainforest. They also discusses the environmental concerns of the area. Journal entries from the trip are scatted throughout the book.
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