Rainforest textbook honored by journal

Rainforest textbook honored by journal

Ascholastic book edited by forest ecologist Dominick DellaSala of Talent is included in the annual academic excellence list by Choice magazine, one of the nation's premier review journals.

The 336-page book, "Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation," is in the "Outstanding Academic Title" list published in the January issue of Choice.

Based in Middletown, Conn., Choice has been a leading review journal for scholarly publications for more than 45 years and the leading North American source for reviews of new scholarly books and electronic resources.

The book, in which DellaSala also was a principal writer, was among 629 included in the list that spans 54 disciplines. However, 7,263 books were reviewed out of the more than 25,000 submitted, according to Irving E. Rockwood, the editor and publisher.

Published by Island Press, the book was the only one to receive the Choice award for academic excellence in 2011. DellaSala brought together more than 30 forest scientists from around the world to describe the ecology, conservation and threats to temperate rainforests from Australia to the Oregon and California coastal ranges.

"Eloquently written, this valuable compendium should be enjoyed and pondered by a diverse audience ranging from students to policymakers," reviewer L.M. Nagel of Michigan Technological University wrote of the book in a Choice review last year.

"This worldwide vision makes the imperative need for preservation of these rain forests compelling," he added. "Summing up: Highly recommended."

The Choice award will help focus attention on the globe's vanishing temperate rainforests, said DellaSala, 54, the chief scientist and president of the Ashland-based Geos Institute.

"It's great to get that kind of recognition," he said. "The intention of the book is to shine the global spotlight on these rainforests.

"We want to inspire people to start thinking about these temperate rainforests because they are one of a kind," he added. "We could lose them in this generation. ... I'm doing this for my young daughter and her generation."

Temperate rainforests are found in many nontropical locations around the globe, including far western Oregon, he said, noting that includes the old-growth stands on the western portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

There are only four places on the plant — Alaska, British Columbia, Chile and Tasmania — where intact coastal rainforests remain, said DellaSala, who became interested in the nontropical rainforests while spending two research seasons on Prince Wales Island in Alaska, where giant Sitka spruce were being felled.

"Australia has decided to do only restoration forestry in Tasmania," he said. "If we want to change, we can change. It just takes the political will and recognition of the values at risk. I'm encouraged about that."

Last year, DellaSala was a keynote speaker at rainforest conferences from Alaska to New Zealand, in recognition of the United Nations-declared International Year of Forests. He has been invited to talk at similar conferences in Scotland and Russia later this year.

"While rainforests around the globe are at a crisis, there is growing awareness that these forests cleanse the air we breathe, purify our drinking water and allow us to connect with nature," he said.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at

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