"The relative abundance of water has exerted a major control on all aspects of life in Australia, from the distribution of eucalypts and kangaroos to the customs of Anglo-Australians and Aborigines. Water is thus one of the dominant themes of this book, as are my ambivalence toward many of the situations in which I found myself, and my gropings toward a philosophy of balance between humans and their environment..." -- Ellen E Wohl, from the Preface. The tropical rain forests of northern Australia are among the most beautiful, rugged, and remote in the world. During the summer months, the mountains and forests here are lashed by cyclones, creating floods of tremendous intensity. Drawn to this area to research flood deposits in an effort to relate the history of flooding to regional climate, geologist Ellen Wohl studied three rivers: The Burdekin and Herbert Rivers in northeastern Queensland and the East Alligator River in the Northern Territory. RAIN FOREST INTO DESERT is Wohl's unique record of the time spent in this enchanting, secluded world and her efforts to obtain not only scientific data but a deeper understanding of the place, its culture, and its history.
A blend of natural and human history, personal adventure and discovery, and the intriguing field work Wohl conducted in often dangerous surroundings, RAIN FOREST INTO DESERT is an intimate and skillfully crafted account of one woman's experiences in this relatively unknown and fascinating region.
Ellen E Wohl