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Cover

Burning Planet

The Story of Fire Through Time

Andrew C. Scott

March 2018

ISBN: 9780198734840

256 pages
Hardback
234x153mm

In Stock

Price: £20.00

Andrew Scott, who played a key role in identifying fossilized charcoal, describes the profound impact of fire through Earth history, from its role in mass extinctions and the spread of flowering plants, to early hominid use of fire, and the role of wildfires on landscapes today.

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Description

Andrew Scott, who played a key role in identifying fossilized charcoal, describes the profound impact of fire through Earth history, from its role in mass extinctions and the spread of flowering plants, to early hominid use of fire, and the role of wildfires on landscapes today.

  • Draws on growing evidence for fire in the rock record to give an account of the role of fire over the past 400 million years of Earth history
  • Describes the remarkable information we can extract from fossil charcoal, including the finest details of ancient flowers
  • Discusses the exciting evidence from archaeological sites across the world for prehistoric and early human use of fire
  • Explores the impacts of wildfires on landscapes and ecosystems, and the ways of tackling growing problems of fire associated with climate change

About the Author(s)

Andrew C. Scott, Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London

Andrew Scott is Emeritus Professor of Geology and a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has co-authored and edited several academic books on fire, most recently Fire on Earth: An Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), with David M. J. S. Bowman, William J. Bond, Stephen J. Pyne, and Martin E. Alexander. He appears regularly on radio and television science programmes.

Table of Contents

    Preface
    1:Introducing fire - the shaper of Earth and life
    2:Getting dirty - charcoal and what it can tell us
    3:Kindling
    4:The rise, fall and rise of fire
    5:Fire, flowers and dinosaurs
    6:Fire and the coming of the modern world
    7:Prometheus
    8:The future of fire
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index

Reviews

"This is an excellent and interesting book. Aimed at lay readers, it hits the target spot-on while including some fascinating scientific insights... The pictures are very good, the explanations add even more to them - Scott is a good communicator... This book is recommended for all. It should be bought not just read, as readers will want to return to it to confirm items and learn more." - Jeremy Joseph, The Geological Society

"Delightful primer." - Stephen J. Payner, Endeavor

"A scholarly and thoughtful account of the long history of fire on Earth." - Drew Gwilliams, Chemistry World

"Scott's dedication to the subject and the history he reconstructs here are amazing. If you have any interest in deep history and palaeontology this book is easy to recommend." - Leon Vlieger, The Inquisitive Biologist

"This is a thought-provoking book." - Jeremy Webb, New Scientist

"This is a gripping read." - Chris Darmon, Down to Earth

"One of those readable science histories whose scope, like Yuval Noah Hararie's Sapiens, blasts the general reader's mind." - Andrew Billen, The Times

"Scholarly yet accessible study... Scott's study of fossil charcoal has unearthed an astounding deep-past record of botanical riches and shifts in climate and oxygen levels. A timely book in an era of heightened fire risk and threats to water supply." - Barbara Kiser, Nature

"Thoughtful and carefully researched text ... that will satisfy academics and professionals, but is also a very readable volume for those who know little about the subject before reading this book ... an absorbing and rewarding study." - FireTrench

"Wildfire, that force of nature that terrifies us all, has played a vital role in the evolution of life and environments on Earth for million of years. Andrew Scott tells a fascinating personal story of his research into charcoal and the history of fire through geological time - and how fire will, no doubt, play a major role in our future warm world." - Dame Jane Francis, British Antarctic Survey

"Scott writes clearly and with great enthusiasm for his subject matter ... It is richly illustrated, with evocative reconstructions of past landscapes, vivid photos of bush fires, and striking 'micrographs' of charcoalified plants." - Billy Griffiths, Australian Book Review

"Andrew Scott's career-long obsession with fire has paid dividends. His detailed and entertaining book gives us a 'no-stone-unturned' account of the natural history of fire. It takes us on an extraordinary journey from fires on heathlands to the working of the Earth system with remarkable implications for life on the planet." - David Beerling, author of the Emerald Planet.

"This deep time perspective shows that fire has always been with us, and raises the question about how we should live with it in the future." - Sir Peter Crane FRS, President, Oak Spring Garden Foundation and Former Director of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew

"Scott shows how the occurrence of fire through Earth history provides a new lens through which to understand the evolution of plants, animals, landscapes and climate changes through the last 450 million years, and to consider possible effects on human welfare. I recommend it to anyone curious about Earth history." - Jennifer A. Clack, FRS, Professor Emeritus of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Cambridge University

"Scott shows how the occurrence of fire through Earth history provides a new lens through which to understand the evolution of plants, animals, landscapes and climate changes through the last 450 million years, and to consider possible effects on human welfare. I recommend it to anyone curious about Earth history." - Jennifer A. Clack, FRS, Professor Emeritus of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Cambridge University

"An excellent read for those interested in deep time and the paleorecord, as well as those of us who find charred materials exciting." - Cristina Santin, International Journal of Wildland Fire