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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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Postcolonial Ecology

Postcolonial Ecology

(p.206) Epilogue Postcolonial Ecology
American Tropics

Megan Raby

University of North Carolina Press

American Tropics closes with an examination of the postcolonial situation of tropical research in the circum­Caribbean. Today, the institutions that are the most important and heavily used by U.S. biologists for tropical research and teaching are located in independent republics: the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) in Costa Rica and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)—since the 1979 dissolution of the Canal Zone—in Panama. Key players in the move to bring “biodiversity” to the public stage in the 1980s were tropical biologists who had deep connections to OTS and STRI during the previous two decades of transition. The emergence of the modern biodiversity discourse, this book argues, is a direct product of the intellectual and political ferment of tropical biology during that revolutionary period. The significance of that moment, in turn, can be understood only in the context of the full twentieth century and its mixed legacies for tropical biology—the development of place­based research practices and a long­standing dependence on institutions supported by U.S. corporations and government agencies.

Keywords:   biodiversity, conservation biology, ecology, equity, field stations, long-term research, Organization for Tropical Studies, postcolonial, Smithsonian, tropical biology

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