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Cover

Making Eden

How Plants Transformed a Barren Planet

David Beerling

March 2019

ISBN: 9780198798309

272 pages
Hardback
234x153mm

In Stock

Price: £20.00

Plants are absolutely fundamental to the functioning of life on earth. But how did the earliest plants first emerge from water and conquer the continents? Using the latest research, David Beerling tells their evolutionary story. And, as we face catastrophic loss of biodiversity, he highlights the profound effect they have on ecosystems and climate.

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Description

Plants are absolutely fundamental to the functioning of life on earth. But how did the earliest plants first emerge from water and conquer the continents? Using the latest research, David Beerling tells their evolutionary story. And, as we face catastrophic loss of biodiversity, he highlights the profound effect they have on ecosystems and climate.

  • Reveals how plants first gained a toehold on land, and then spread and diversified into the forests, grasslands, and abundance of flowering plants we see today
  • Draws on the latest exciting scientific findings, including Beerling's own field work, to piece together how the first land plants survived and spread, with the crucial help of fungi
  • Discusses the central role plants play in both ecosystems and the regulation of climate
  • Considers the future prospects and challenges facing our land flora as we destroy biodiversity and farm the planet to feed the world

About the Author(s)

David Beerling, Sorby Professor of Natural Sciences, and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, University of Sheffield

David Beerling is the Sorby Professor of Natural Sciences, and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Sheffield. Before this he held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, where his work on the evolution of life and the physical environment was recognised by the award of the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in earth sciences in 2001. He has published numerous articles in academic journals and is the author of The Emerald Planet (OUP, 2007). This book formed the basis of a major three-part BBC Two television series, How to Grow a Planet. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, London, in 2014.

Table of Contents

    Preface
    Acknowledgements
    Illustrations and plates
    1: All flesh is grass
    2: Fifty shades of green
    3: Genomes decoded
    4: Ancient genes, new plants
    5: Gas valves
    6: Ancestral alliances
    7: Sculpting climate
    8: Eden under siege
    Further reading
    Index

Reviews

"Scholarly, highly readable and passionate account ... This book is a call-to-arms: cutting-edge plant science in an environmental context." - Phil Gates, BBC Wildlife

"[A] wonderful study ... A vivid corrective to deep-rooted zoo-chauvinism in thinking about life on Earth." - Barbara Kiser, Nature

"Subtitled 'how plants transformed a barren planet' this fascinating book describes the rise and diversification of plant life originating in a certain type of algae and gradually colonising the land, leading eventually to large forests that impacted the climate through feedback mechanisms." - Paradigm Explorer

"Relatively complex subjects within the field of planet genetics are presented in detail, yet in an accessible writing style that should appeal to non-specialists... Thoroughly researched, content-heavy, and scattered with anecdotes and examples from Beerling's own career ... an informative and highly relevant read." - David Vaughan, Geoscientist

"Making Eden is an amazing story that is very well told by David Beerling. It should be on the reading list of every course in plant biology. It should also be essential reading for all those in positions of influence regarding current and future agriculture and environmental policies." - Nigel Chaffey, Botany One

"David Beerling takes the reader through the latest scientific advances with both deep knowledge and skilful writing. Plants have shaped the rest of the biological world. He explains why, far from being a nineteenth century science, Beerling explains why botany should lie at the centre of debates about how we deal with the future of the biosphere." - Richard Fortey

"Beerling shows us that plants made our planet habitable, and that the fates of people and plants are inextricably intertwined. Against this billion-year backdrop we should think carefully about whether hubris or humility is the better guide for navigating an uncertain planetary future." - Sir Peter Crane, author of Ginkgo: The Tree that Time Forgot

"'Making Eden' is a sweeping history of plant evolution that demonstrates both the development and fragility of plant life. Sound and alluring, it exposes readers to phenomena like the remarkable complexity of plants, the genetic commonality that enables an incredible variety of flowers, and the fascinating biological secret behind the resilience of redwood trees that flourish despite their immense size." - Barry Silverstein, Foreword Reviews

"This book does exactly what David Beerling promises in the sub-title - it explains with clarity and passion the extraordinary story of how plants escaped from their ancestral marine habitats and came to dominate terrestrial ecosystems. He also brings to life vividly the huge impact this has had, and continues to have, on all life on earth (including our own) and how we, Homo sapiens, are now threatening our own future existence by the damage we are inflicting on earth's increasingly degraded and fragile ecosystems." - Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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