Crop Evolution, Adaptation and Yield

Lloyd T Evans 
Cambridge University Press  March 1993  

Hardback  512pp  ISBN 9780521225717      £88.00

Paperback  512pp  ISBN 9780521295581      £37.00
This major work provides an integrated view of the domestication, adaptation and improvement of crop plants, bringing together genetic diversity, plant breeding, physiology and aspects of agronomy. Considerations of yield and maximum yield provide continuity throughout the book. Food, feed, fibre, fuel and pharmaceutical crops are all discussed. Cereals, grain legumes and root crops, both temperate and tropical, provide many of the examples, but pasture plants, oilseeds, leafy crops, fruit trees and others are also considered. After the introductory chapter, the increasing significance of crop yields to the world's food supply is highlighted. The next three chapters consider changes to crop plants over the last ten thousand years, including domestication, adaptation and improvement. These are treated at length because their nature is often misunderstood, yet has important implications for the relation between plant breeding and agronomy, for development policy and for environmental management. The crucial roles of input innovation and synergism are illustrated, along with examples of how diminishing returns to input energy have been avoided. The final chapter hazards some guesses about the way in which agriculture may be transformed over the next fifty years. Aimed at research workers and advanced students in crop physiology and ecology, agronomy and plant breeding, this book also reaches conclusions of relevance to those concerned with developmental policy, agricultural research and management, environmental quality, resource depletion and human history. The contents are as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Crop yields and world food supply
  • The domestication of crop plants
  • Adaptation and the ecology of yield
  • Physiological aspects of crop improvement
  • Increases in yield: trends and limits
  • Inputs and the efficient use of resources
  • The future of yield.

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