Samoan Rainforest: A Guide to the Vegetation of the Samoan Archipelago, The
W. Arthur Whistler Ph.D.
Softcover, 169 pp.
The Samoan archipelago is divided politically into a western portion known as Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa) and an eastern portion known as American Samoa. These volcanic islands in the heart of Polynesia were once almost entirely covered with a mantle of tropical rainforest, but after over 3000 years of human occupation, much of the native vegetation has been removed and that which remains is gravely threatened by a growing population, an unrelenting timber industry, and recurring hurricanes. The Samoan Rainforest is a study of the plant cover of these islands, based on the author's work in Samoa that spans three decades. Based upon structure and species present, the vegetation of the archipelago is divided into several “plant communities,” such as littoral strand, marshes, mangroves, freshwater swamps, lowland rainforest, montane rainforest, cloud forest, summit scrub, montane scrub, volcanic scrub, and several types of disturbed vegetation, which are discussed in detail in the text and richly illustrated with 130 color photos.
In addition to the discussion of the plant communities present, there is an introductory chapter on the flora, botanical history, and classification of Samoa plants; one on characteristics of tropical rainforests; and a concluding chapter on the past, present, and future of the native vegetation. The book is aimed at high school and college students, teachers, and researchers who are doing or wish to do work in Samoan forests.