1st Edition

Plants and People
Origin and Development of Human--Plant Science Relationships

ISBN 9781498707084
Published October 5, 2015 by CRC Press
272 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

USD $90.95

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Book Description

An exploration of the relationship between plants and people from early agriculture to modern-day applications of biotechnology in crop production, Plants and People: Origin and Development of Human–Plant Science Relationships covers the development of agricultural sciences from Roman times through the development of agricultural experiment stations in the United States to the rise of agri-business. It underscores the symbiotic relationship and mutuality that define the intertwined histories of plants and people. It does not merely present the latest science but puts the sciences themselves in the context of history.

The book provides the science, chronology, and history that undergird the relationships between humans and plants. It discusses plant anatomy, physiology, and reproduction; evolution of plants and people; early uses of plants; the rise of agriculture in both Old and New Worlds; creation of land grant universities and agricultural experiment stations; the Green Revolution; plant biotechnology; and the future of plant sciences in feeding the growing human population.

The agricultural sciences were not a product of the nineteenth century but of the careful observation and advice of Roman writers who lived some 2000 years ago. This book reveals the malleability of the sciences, the people who practice them, and the plants that are the focus of scientific research. The author is careful to distinguish between basic and applied science while recognizing that the agricultural sciences pursue both. He also challenges the traditional notion that basic research necessarily yields practical results. The book demonstrates how plants and the agricultural sciences have shaped the everyday world we inhabit.

Table of Contents

The Biology of Plants
The Rise of the Sciences
Plant Biology: The Cell
The Plant Goes Underground
Anatomy of Flowers
Dicots and Monocots

Evolution of Plants and People
Toward Natural Selection
Punctuated Equilibrium: A Modification of Darwinism
Evolution of Plants
Earliest Life
Toward the First Plants
Rapid Evolution of Terrestrial Plants
Evolution of Roots
Variety of Land Plants
Pathways of Evolution
First Forests
Evolution of Seed Plants
Rise of Flowering Plants
Flowering Plants at the End of the Cretaceous Period
Rise of the Grasses
Tropical Rainforests
Evolution of Plants in Perspective
Human Evolution
Homo habilis
Homo erectus
Toward a Variety of Humans
H. heidelbergensis
H. sapiens
Homo floresiensis
Mitochondrial Eve
Out of Africa

Early Uses of Plants
Role of Plants in Human Evolution
Woman, the Gatherer
Plants and Human Evolution
Edible Plants in the Americas
Partial and Tentative Movement toward Agriculture within the Context of Hunting and Foraging

The Neolithic Revolution
Southwestern Asia
Europe, Egypt, and North Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
East Asia
Southeast Asia
The Pacific Islands
South Asia
The Americas

Rise of Empiricism in Antiquity: An Overview
Greco Roman Agricultural Writers
Place of Agriculture in the Greco Roman World
Empiricism and the First Stirrings of the Plant Sciences in the West
Soil Depletion and Its Remedies
Plowing, Weeding, and Planting
The Olive Tree, Other Fruit Trees, and Grapevine
Grains and Other Crops

The Columbian Exchange
From the Old World
From the New World

The Rise of the Land Grant Complex
Movement toward Federal Funding of the Agricultural Sciences
The Land Grant Colleges
Toward the State Agricultural Experiment Stations
A Variety of Plant Sciences at Public and Private Institutions

The Hybrid Corn Revolution
Improvement of Corn through Breeding
Rise of the European Corn Borer
The European Corn Borer Spreads to the Gateway to the Corn Belt
Spread of Hybrid Corn in the Corn Belt
Hybrid Corn in the Developing World

The Green Revolution
Geopolitics and the Green Revolution
Overview of Science and the Green Revolution
Achievements of the Green Revolution
Response to Criticism
Toward the Future: The Agencies that Made Possible the Green Revolution

Plant Biotechnology
Techniques for Plant Transformation
Biotechnology of Herbicide Resistance
Biotechnology and Insect-Resistant Crops
Biotechnology and the Search for Resistant to Plant Diseases
Biotechnology and Abiotic Stress
Public Acceptance of Plant Biotechnology and Its Present State

The Malthusian Crisis
An Essay on the Principle of Population
Population Problem
Trends in Food Production
Problems of Plentitude


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