CHOCOLATE TREE

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Smithsonian, Sep 17, 1994 - History - 200 pages
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The Chocolate Tree chronicles the natural and cultural history of Theobroma cacao and explores its ecological niche. Tracing cacao's "journey" out of the rain forest, into pre-Columbian gardens, and then onto plantations adjacent to rain forests, Allen M. Young describes the production of this essential crop, explaining how the seeds are extracted from the large, colorful pods. He details the environmental price of Europeanized cultivation, and ways that current reclamation efforts for New World rain forests can improve the natural ecology of the cacao tree. Recounting more than a dozen years of ecological fieldwork in and around cacao plantations in Costa Rica, Young reviews his research into the problem of poor levels of natural pollination on plantations. He recalls encounters with sloths, toucans, butterflies, giant tarantula hawk wasps, and other creatures found in cacao groves. Among these creatures Young discovered a tiny fly that provides a vital link between the chocolate tree and its original rain forest habitat. This discovery leads him to conclude that cacao trees in cultivation today may have lost their original insect pollinators due to the plants' long history of agricultural manipulation.

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The chocolate tree: a natural history of cacao

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Are you a chocoholic? Welcome to avery large club. Young here updates his 1994 sociological history of the cacao tree and the magic beans it produces. Those beans have been used as food, drink, and ... Read full review

Review: The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao

User Review  - Kara - Goodreads

Interesting if you are curious about chocolate, but reads a little like a science text book. Read full review

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Contents

The Cultivation of Cacao Past and Present
14
Cacao and Agriculture in Costa Rica
48
Excursions into the Natural History of Cacao and Cacao Plantations
80
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Golden Guides first appeared in 1949 and quickly established themselves as authorities on subjects from Natural History to Science. Relaunched in 2000, Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press feature modern, new covers as part of a multi-year, million-dollar program to revise, update, and expand the complete line of guides for a new generation of students.
Allen M. Young, Ph.D., obtained his B.A. degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago. His two years of post-doctoral research with the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica was the beginning of what has become a lifelong career studying and writing about tropical rainforest insects. Currently Curator of Zoology and Vice President for Collections, Research, and Public Programs at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Dr. Young has published several books--"Population, Biology of Tropical Insects, The Sarapiqui Chronicle, The Chocolate Tree, Lives Intertwined, "and "Small Creatures and Ordinary Places--"plus more than 300 original scientific papers.
Judith Huf has worked as an artist in many fields, from painting and sculpture to technical and scientific illustration and creating exhibits for nature centers and museums. This is the second book she has illustrated for Dr. Young.

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