28 September 2011

Book Review: Trees of Panama and Costa Rica

Trees of Panama and Costa Rica by Richard Condit, Rolando Perez, and Nefertaris Daguerre is a beautiful tree field guide.  I love the bright plates that look like the real leaf is in your hand. 
The Peterson for botanists in the tropics, the Trees of Panama and Costa Rica is a delightful guide full of some of the best color plates I’ve ever seen.  Maybe not as detailed as Sibley’s Guide to Trees but in some ways, with those stunning photo plates, I found this guide more appealing.  The use of up-close bubbles to provide attention to detail is nice on the leaves and berries.  The range maps are well thought out and are included on the same page as the plates, which I love.  The text is small be detailed.  The only confusing part for those not so scientifically trained is the use of latin names but I find this helpful to avoid confusion among species.  In the tropics, with so many types of trees, it would be hard to classify the book in any other way. 

If you're planning a trip to Panama or Costa Rica (or any other Central American country for that matter) this may be the perfect guide for you if you wonder what trees you are walking under.  It's a little on the heavy side to take in the field, with almost 500 pages, but as a reference when taking photos of trees or mulling over a few small samples, this book should come in handy.  I am looking forward to giving this book a try when I visit Panama this year on my Canopy Tower trip. 

This review copy was provided by Princeton University Press.

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