Plants at the Margin: Ecological Limits and Climate Change

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

Margins are by their very nature environmentally unstable - does it therefore follow that plant populations adapted for life in such areas will prove to be pre-adapted to withstand the changes that may be brought about by a warmer world? Biogeography, demography, reproductive biology, physiology and genetics all provide cogent explanations as to why limits occur where they do, and the purpose of this book is to bring together these different avenues of enquiry. Crawford's numerous beautiful illustrations of plants in their natural habitats remind us that the environment remains essential to our understanding of plants and their function. This book is suited to students, researchers and anyone with an interest in the impact of climate change on our world.
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About the author

R. M. M. Crawford has taught and researched at the University of St Andrews since 1962, pursuing the study of plant responses to the environment in a wide range of habitats in Scotland, Scandinavia, North and South America and the Arctic. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Linnean Society and an associate member of the Belgian Royal Academy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Mar 20, 2008
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Pages
433
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ISBN
9781139469296
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Botany
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Research Council established the Ecosystems Panel in response to a request from the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The panel's charge included periodic reviews of the ecosystems aspects of the USGCRP, and this is the first of those reviews. It is based on information provided by the USGCRP, including Our Changing Planet (NSTC 1997 and earlier editions 1); ideas and conversations provided by participants in a workshop held in St. Michaels, Maryland, in July 1998; and the deliberations of the panel. In addition, the panel reviewed the ecosystems chapter of the NRC report Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (NRC 1999a, known as the Pathways report).

The USGCRP is an interagency program established in 1989 and codified by the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (PL 101-606). The USGCRP comprises representatives of the departments of Agriculture, Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology), Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services (the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), Interior, and State, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget, and the intelligence community (NSTC 1997). The USGCRP's research program is described in detail in Our Changing Planet (NSTC 1997, 1999). In brief, the program focuses on four major areas of earth-system science: 1) Seasonal to interannual climate variability; 2) Climate change over decades to centuries; 3) Changes in ozone, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and atmospheric chemistry, and 4) Changes in land cover and in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The fourth topic is the area in which advice was requested from the ecosystems panel.

The Ecosystems Panel's charge has three parts: to provide a forum for the discussion of questions of ecosystem science of interest to scientists in and out of the federal agencies, to periodically review the ecosystem aspects of the USGCRP's research program, and to help identify general areas of ecosystem science that need additional attention, especially areas that cut across ecosystems and levels of ecological organization. In addressing the second item of its charge for this report, the panel first identified the most significant and challenging areas in ecosystem science, then used that identification as a basis to make recommendations to the USGCRP. Thus, this report is not a detailed review of the USGCRP's program, but rather an attempt to identify those areas that the panel concludes are most in need of attention by a general research program on global change. As noted in this report, some of those areas are already receiving attention by the USGCRP.
Contemporary climate change is a crucial management challenge for wildlife scientists, conservation biologists, and ecologists of the 21st century. Climate fingerprints are being detected and documented in the responses of hundreds of wildlife species and numerous ecosystems around the world. To mitigate and accommodate the influences of climate change on wildlife and ecosystems, broader-scale conservation strategies are needed.

Ecological Consequences of Climate Change: Mechanisms, Conservation, and Management provides a mechanistic understanding of biotic responses to climate change, in order to better inform conservation and management strategies. Incorporating modeling and real-world examples from diverse taxa, ecosystems, and spatio-temporal scales, the book first presents research on recently observed rapid shifts in temperature and precipitation. It then explains how these shifts alter the biotic landscape within species and ecosystems, and how they may be expected to impose changes in the future. Also included are major sections on monitoring and conservation efforts in the face of contemporary climate change. Contributors highlight the general trends expected in wildlife and ecological responses as well as the exceptions and contingencies that may mediate those responses.

Topics covered include:

Description and quantification of how aspects of climate have recently changed, and may change in the future Species-level and higher-order ecological responses to climate change and variability Approaches to monitor and interpret ecological effects of climatic variability Conservation and management efforts

The book discusses the quantification of the magnitude and variability in short-term responses, and delineates patterns of relative vulnerability among species and community types. It offers suggestions for designing investigations and management actions, including the long-term monitoring of ecological consequences of rapid climate change. It also identifies many of the biggest gaps in current knowledge, proposing avenues for further research. Bringing together many of the world’s leading experts on ecological effects of climate change, this unique and timely volume constitutes a valuable resource for practitioners, researchers, and students.

The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

In 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam. Three and a half centuries later, Amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant—though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. How could flowers, of all things, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin?

In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants. In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings—and by doing so made themselves indispensable. For, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, have done well by us. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?

Weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature.
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