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Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0521864800
ISBN-10: 0397517068
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Editorial Reviews


"Overall, this is a surprisingly easy to read, remarkably thorough, and balanced textbook. The author has focused less on exhausting every aspect of plant ecology and more on creating a critical, engaging, multi-discliplinary, and pragmatic approach to some major aspects. The ultimate goal of this book seems to be to instruct and to train plant ecologists, and in this it will be successful."
Sean Hoban, Plant Sciences Bulletin

Book Description

Plants make up 99 percent of the world's living matter, provide food and shelter, and control the Earth's climate. The study of plants is therefore essential to understanding the biological functioning of the Earth. This vibrant basic textbook integrates important classical themes with newer ideas, examples, models and data.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 706 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0397517068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521864800
  • ASIN: 0521864801
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,748,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The Author

Dr. Paul Keddy is a biologist and writer now living in the deciduous forests of Lanark County. A professor of ecology for 30 years, he has published over 100 scholarly papers and several books. He achieved international designation as a Highly Cited Researcher, has awards from organizations including the Society of Wetland Scientists and the Environmental Law Institute, and, locally, is designated a Champion of Nature. Although he has worked on many types of ecological issues, the focus of his career has been upon the principles that organize plant communities, with particular emphasis upon wetlands. He has even studied alligators. Recent lectures have included Washington,Toronto, Madrid, Lyon and Lanark.

The bigger issue that flows through many of Paul's books is the challenge of combining hard science with enlightened conservation. He has written a number of articles about the difficulty of this task. Too often, one ends up, on one hand, with science detached from reality, and on the other hand, management that is ineffective or even harmful. It need not be this way. His most recent book, "Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation", is written to illustrate how hard science supports effective conservation, a win-win situation.

Paul is currently living on a long dead end road in the forest not far from Ottawa, Ontario where he owns several hundred acres of forest and provincially significant wetland. His office overlooks a beaver pond. The forests and wetlands are being restored to their original natural conditions.

His web site is

More on the books

Paul's first scientific book, "Competition", was published by Chapman and Hall in 1989, while he was a professor at the University of Ottawa. That book won the Lawson Medal (awarded by the Canadian Botanical Association) and the Gleason Prize (from the New York Botanical Garden). A later book, "Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation" (Cambridge University Press, 2000) received the Merit Prize from the Society of Wetland Scientists. With Dr. Evan Weiher he co-edited "Ecological Assembly Rules: Perspectives, Advances, Retreats" (Cambridge University Press, 1999). With Dr. Lauchlan Fraser he co-edited "The World's Largest Wetlands: Ecology and Conservation" (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He also has written a large and frequently overlooked second edition of "Competition" (Kluwer, 2001), "the book with the fighting zebras on the cover."

The plant ecology text book, a full decade in preparation, is an introduction to plant ecology from a global perspective. Titled, "Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences" (Cambridge University Press, 2007), it aims to combine the richness of plant natural history with the elegance of simple concepts and models. It is intended as a text for introductory plant ecology courses, as well as general reading for those seeking to deepen their appreciation and understanding of plant communities.

Paul's most recent project, a new edition of "Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation", was written, as noted above, to illustrate how hard science supports effective conservation. It has received strong positive reviews and is increasingly used in university courses and wetland management training.

Finally, there are two natural history guides. The book on Louisiana's nature and wild places reflects the ten years he spent there as the first holder of the Schlieder Endowed Chair of Environmental Studies. It is called "Water, Earth, Fire: Louisiana's Natural Heritage". The title was carefully chosen, since Louisiana formed as a delta under water, from earth carried by the Mississippi, and has forests in which fire is an important natural process. As Keddy told his Louisiana students, the land is either so wet it floods, or so dry it burns. Both are important natural processes upon which many species from cypress trees to gopher tortoises are utterly dependent. The other natural history guide is to his own county of Lanark. Called "Earth, Water Fire: An Ecological Profile of Lanark County", it tells the story of the natural communities of the Ottawa Valley with particular reference to Lanark County. Note the subtle difference in titles - Lanark County is built in bedrock (earth), has many lakes and wetlands (water) and, yes, many of its forests are adapted to regular burning (fire). Paul considers these books to be gifts to the citizens of Louisiana and Lanark to help support ecotourism and enlightened conservation.

Paul has several new books in progress, including one provisionally subtitled "Thirty Essays on Life, Wilderness and Rogue Primates."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Gregory T. Ford on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought this for a course called plant ecology at UF. It was a little difficult to follow and understand sometimes but overall and in combination with the course lecture I think it served me well.
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Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences
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