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Cycles of Life: Civilization and the Biosphere (Scientific American Library Series,) Hardcover – January, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


Cycles Of Life: Civilization And The Biosphere explores the crucial insight that, through their participation in biogeochemical cycles, living organisms act as a tremendously important agent of change in their environment. For example, the composition of the atmosphere has been affected by microscopic organisms of the ocean, the climate by Earth's vegetation, soil chemistry by microbes on and beneath the planet's surface. Based on the latest scientific research, Cycles Of Life is an authoritative, engaging introduction to the workings of the biosphere, one that calls for thoughtful environmental management while remaining sensible in its recommendations for preventing further environmental damage. Cycles Of Life is highly recommended reading for anyone concerned with the globally relevant environmental issues. -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Vaclav Smil is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. During nearly 30 years of interdisciplinary research there, Professor Smil has focused on the interactions of environment, energy, food, population, economy, and society. He has published 16 books and more than 200 papers on these topics. His most recent books are China's Environmental Crisis, Global Ecology, Energy in World History, Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization, and Feeding the World.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Scientific American Library Series, (Book 63)
  • Hardcover: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Scientific American Library (January 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716750791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716750796
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vaclav Smil is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He completed his graduate studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Carolinum University in Prague and at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences of the Pennsylvania State University. His interdisciplinary research interests encompass a broad area of energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical and public policy studies, and he had also applied these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy) and the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology. He has been an invited speaker in more than 250 conferences and workshops in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, has lectured at many universities in North America, Europe and East Asia and has worked as a consultant for many US, EU and international institutions. His wife Eva is a physician and his son David is an organic synthetic chemist.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jerrad Pierce on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book (2 ed. Scientific American 2001) to be easily readable, and while the general thrust of the work may be about the greenhouse effect that is not the main topic. Rather, the book focuses on exploring the flows of major substances in the environment e.g; carbon, nitrogen, water and phosphorous. I've loaned this book and and it was greatly appreciated there too. Alas, it seems it can be difficult to go back and reference material; the index is a bit skimpy and the text arrangement works well for reading but may only allow you to find the general section of what you are looking for.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book gives the reader the background to consider the "Greenhouse Effect" and all its ramifications in a serious way. Very good reading and very thought provoking.
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