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cover of plant ecology book


Some options and appetizers

by Paul Keddy with Cambridge University Press

This book offers a fresh, balanced, contemporary, comprehensive approach to the study of plant ecology, including populations, communities and ecosystems.

Read Chapter 1 online: Plants Create the Biosphere

Thirteen chapters provide instructors and readers with an organized introduction to plant ecology suitable for a one or two semester course.

  • Comprehensive -- 13 chapters, 300+ figures, 80 tables, more than 1000 references.
  • Global scope -- Familiar temperate zone examples mixed with world-wide examples including South American tepuis, South African fynbos, North American pine savannas, and New Zealand beech forests.
  • Rich natural history -- Copiously illustrated with colour photos to enhance appreciation of plants as organisms. Carnivorous plants. Parasitic plants. Epiphytic plants. Aquatic plants. Arctic plants. Succulents. Endolithic lichens. Myrmecochorous plants. Orchids. Grasses. Asters.
  • Processes emphasized -- Resource acquisition. Plants and climate. Natural distrubance. Fire ecology. Competition, predation, and mutualism. Plant diversification and evolution. Alternation of generations. Ice Ages. Gradients. Protecting plant diversity.
  • Fresh examples -- Large herbivores in African savannas. Bark beetles and spruce budworm in coniferous forests. Floodplain disturbance in the Amazon basin. Tortoise grazing in the Galapagos. Roman deforestation in the Mediterranean. Pollination of tropical trees by bats and birds.
  • Models -- Exponential population growth. Trade-offs in sexual and asexual reproduction. Matrix models for population dynamics. CSR and r-K continua in life history strategies. Trends during succession. Plant-herbivore population dynmaics. Thresholds in ecosystem collapse.
  • Conservation -- Applied examples throughout combined with a unified treatment in a final chapter. Biological hotspots. Ecosystems at risk. Design of reserve systems. Effects of grazing and logging. Ecosystem restoration.
  • Expansive referencing -- More than 1000 references. Includes classic historical papers, little-known examples that illustrate important general principles, and emerging topics in plant ecology. Each chapter ends with key readings and review questions.

1. Plants create the biosphere

2. The search for global patterns

(These first two chapters explore the origins and distributions of plants.)

3. Resources

4. Competition

5. Disturbance

6. Herbivores

7. Positive interactions

8. Time

9. Populations

10. Stress

(These eight chapters focus on key factors that affect plants.)

11. Gradients and plant communities

12. Diversity

13. Conservation and management

(These last three chapters explore larger scale patterns, and management of plants in landscapes.)

Table of contents

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Download map of world floristic regions as jpg

Link to download all illustrations for teaching (registration required)

Desertification by goats

Haber and the nitrogen cycle

The discovery of mycorrhizae

Cellulose ecology

Chapter 1: Plants Create the Biosphere