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American TropicsThe Caribbean Roots of Biodiversity Science$
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Megan Raby

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635606

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635606.001.0001

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A Global Resource

A Global Resource

(p.172) Chapter Five A Global Resource
American Tropics

Megan Raby

University of North Carolina Press

The 1960s and 1970s saw a wave of highly influential publications on problems of the distribution and ecological controls on species diversity, which drew heavily on data from key tropical field sites. Yet, at this same moment U.S. scientists’ future in the tropics was thrown into question. Revolution swept Cuba and protests erupted in Panama against the U.S. occupation of the Canal Zone. U.S. tropical biologists confronted the loss of access to their most important tropical stations. They responded by realigning themselves, creating professional organizations, and taking new steps toward international collaboration. As chapter 5 explains, they also recast their justifications for the support of basic research. Tropical research was not merely in the U.S. national interest, they began to argue; understanding the biological diversity of the tropics was essential for sustainable global development.

Keywords:   conservation, Costa Rica, Cuban Revolution, Edward O. Wilson, international development, natural resources, Organization for Tropical Studies, Panama Canal, Smithsonian, species diversity

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