Canopy biology

Rainforests are awesome. We humans are bound to walk on the forest flor, hence much of its life escapes our experience. We look up, wonder what lives high up in the canopy. This challenging frontier is being surveyed by biologists. Here we present some general books about this realm. They describe the adventures of this phantastic aspect of biological research, deal with scientific aspects, or depict the access techniques. A good tree climbing course with experienced trainers is a very wise choice. Titles marked with an * before the author’s names are affiliate links with Amazon. By purchasing via those links you can support us. Many thanks.

*Hallé F, Cleyet-Marrell S, Ebersolt G 2004: Über den Wipfeln des Regenwaldes. Ein Expeditionsbericht. National Geographic Adventure Press, Frederking & Thaler Verlag, Germany, 256 pp. ISBN 3-89405-230-9 This book depicts in German the fascinating adventures and challenges  of biological research in the rainforest canopies using an especially designed aerial raft.

*Basset Y, Novotny V, Miller SE, Kitching RE 2003: Arthropods of tropical forests: spatio-temporal dynamics and resource use in the canopy. Cambridge University Press, UK, 474 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-08784-1 The scientific book is very comprehensive and covers various ecological aspects of forest canopies all over the tropics.

Jepson J 2000: The treeclimber’s companion. A reference and training manual for professional tree climbers. 2nd ed. Beaver Tree Publishing, USA, pp. 104. ISBN 0-615-111290-0 This small book describes the equipment and techniques to access and work in tree crowns. Due to the technological evolution the equipment is somewhat outdated now but the techniques are basically the same. However, some additional techniques have been developed in the last years but to our knowledge there is no comprehensive book that covers them. So proper training with experienced trainers is imperative.

*Lowman MD, Nadkarni NM (eds.) 1995: Forest Canopies. 1st ed. Academic Press, USA, pp. 624. ISBN 0-12-457650-8  AND

*Lowman MD, Rinker HB (eds.) 2004: Forest Canopies. 2nd ed. Elsevier Academic Press, USA, pp. 517. ISBN 0-12-457553-6       After a chapter about canopy access techniques in the the 1st edition, both editions of “Forest Canopies” dive right into scientific matter of forest canopies: structure and function, organisms, and processes in tree canopies, and human impacts on canopy research.

*Lowman MD, Schowalter TD, Franklin JF (eds.) 2012: Methods in forest canopy research. University of California Press, USA, pp. 221. ISBN 978-0-520-27371-9  This book gives a very good overview about scientific challenges related to forest canopies. The contributors cover topics such as general aspects of canopy research, forest types and site characteristics and of course describe various survey methods appropriate to dive into different research areas, e.g. sampling units, canopy conditions, biota and processes, canopy-atmosphere interactions and much more.

Mitchell AW 1987: The enchanted canopy. Secrets from the rainforest roof. Fontana/Collins, UK, pp. 255. ISBN 0-00-217443-X In a popular-scientific language the book describes the fascinating animals and plants, and their interactions, covers also the indigenous peoples that either dwell in canopies or exploit the resources. The adventures of biologists venturing into this realm are also an inspiring part of the book.

*Mitchell AW, Secoy K, Jackson T (eds.) 2002: The global canopy handbook. Techniques of access and study in the forest roof. Global Canopy Programme, UK, pp. 248. ISBN 0-9542970-0-8 In this book different techniques to access forest canopies are described, such as rope climbing techniques, cranes, rafts, and towers. In addition, once tree crowns are accessed, subsequent techniques to survey animals and plants in the forest canopies are described. A chapter about remote sensing is also included.

Moffett MW 1993: The high frontier. Exploring the tropical rainforest canopy. Harvard University Press, pp. 192. ISBN 0-674-39039-3  A wonderful book dealing with biological processes in forest canopies and describing the challenges scientists face while working high above the forest floor. Full of stunning photographs of wildlife and researchers in action.

Perry DR 1988: Leben im Dach des Dschungels. Ein Forscher in den Kronen des Regenwaldes. S. Fischer Verlag, Germany, pp. 184. ISBN: none. In German. This is THE book that has originally inspired me, WL, to also carry out research in the rainforest canopies. The author describes beautifully the pioneering years of canopy research, the logistical and physical challenges and the wonderful life in the tree crowns. This is hardcore science in a time when tree climbing equipment was rather primitive compared to the sophisticated gear we use today.  Original Title: Life above the jungle floor. Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, USA.

*Stork NE, Adis J, Didham RK (eds.) 1997: Canopy Arthropods. Chapman and Hall, UK, pp. 567. ISBN 0-412-74900-9 A scientific book about the different aspects related to arthropods of forest canopies.

Also interesting links:

Find out more about The Team of Amazonas-XPrience

Bushcraft skills for rainforests Junglecraft

Some Technology stuff

Tree climbing gear Freeworker

Excellent tree climbing courses: Münchner Baumkletterschule (courses all over Germany, in German)

I recommend the course SKT-A (5 days) or the simple one day course

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