Portraits of Life in the World's Most Remote Islands.
Photographs by David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.
National Geographic, Washington, 2005. 264 pp., 300 illustrations, 11x12".
This new masterwork, by the creators of the acclaimed 2001 book, Remains of a Rainbow, showcases the unique flora and fauna of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, both terrestrial and marine. Nearly seventy percent of our nation's coral reefs are present in the NWHI chain. The rich diversity of these coral reefs, the 'rainforests of the sea,' supports a vast array of animals and plants, many existing nowhere else in the world. Although the ten NWHI are relatively small (comprising 0.1 of 1 percent of the land area of Hawaii) and unknown to most people (with the exception of Midway) they provide refuge for vibrant natural communities including monk seals, vast numbers of seabirds, plants, and invertebrates. Human culture is not the dominant presence here; wildlife reigns. Through a succession of protective actions, the NWHI and their surrounding marine environment have virtually become off limits to people with the exception of occasional authorized research and conservation expeditions. The inaccessibility of the NWHI and the need to protect them from damage means that few people will ever be able to experience and see them directly, through an unmediated eye. This book is a way to share a national treasure and to reveal the richness and value of the NWHI through these inspired portraits.
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