During the past century, tropical rain forests have been reduced to about half of their original area, with a consequent loss of biodiversity. This book takes a close look at how this has happened and what the consequences may be, with am emphasis on those strategies that have proven successful in stemming the loss of plant and animal inhabitants. It describes the use of protected areas such as sacred groves, royal preserves, and today's national parks, which have long served to shield the delicate forest habitats for countless species. Although programs for protecting habitats are under increasing attack, this book argues that a system of protected areas must in fact be the cornerstone of all conservation strategies aimed at limiting the inevitable reduction of our planet's biodiversity. Written by leading experts with years of experience, the book integrates ecological, economic and political perspectives on how best to manage tropical forests and their inhabitants, throughout the world. In addition to conservationists, policy makers, and ecologists, the book will serve as a useful text in courses on tropical conservation.