Michael Goulding

Michael Goulding is a conservation scientist at the University of Florida and the author of numerous books on Amazon ecology.

Recent Articles

Biodiversity in Jeopardy

There are more life forms in Amazonia than anyplace else. But by the end of this century, there may be many fewer.

The Amazon basin is, above all, our planet's greatest celebration of biodiversity, where for hundreds of millions of years environmental conditions have favored an overall increase in the numbers of species. It is not clear why this has been so. Perhaps the principal factor has been a warm and humid climate, at least in large parts of the Amazon Basin. Tracing the Amazonian landscape through time, we see huge rivers shifting their courses, rainforests contracting and expanding to the pulse of climatic change, and the evolution of several major ecosystems within the reaches of the world's greatest river network. These factors and others allowed the diversification of both animal and plant species. Indeed, flowering plants have been diversifying there for at least 65 million years. Although the plant species are far less diverse than the animals, it is the structure of the tropical rainforest that supports the millions of animal species found there. The giant rivers of the Amazon weave...