Environmental Biology of Agaves and Cacti

Park S. Nobel 
Cambridge University Press  October 2003  

Softback  280 pages  ISBN 9780521543347      £37.00
The Environmental Biology of Agaves and Cacti constitutes the first comprehensive review of how these two interesting and economically important desert succulent taxa respond, in what turn out to be remarkably similar ways, to specific environmental factors such as water, temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, and nutrients, which affect the exchange of carbon dioxide and water vapor with the environment. Park Nobel first summarizes early environmental research as well as the many ethnobotanical uses of agaves and cacti. He then develops the main themes by considering the three most studied species in detail. Much of the relevant research has been carried out in his own laboratory since the mid-1970s. The book's clear style, many photographs and line drawings, and comprehensive data summaries make it accessible to professionals and interested laypeople alike. Every scientific term is defined the first time it is used. Agaves and cacti are shown to be highly productive compared to other plant groups, and this productivity helps account for their many uses for beverages, food, and animal fodder. Plant ecologists and physiologists, agronomists, environmental biologists, modelers, ethnobotanists, students, amateur succulent enthusiasts, and those responsible for land use and agricultural policy in arid and semiarid regions will all find this book an invaluable resource.

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Autumn 2004 : Cambridge University Press : environmental impact : extremophiles : plant science

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