Plants and People

Author: Alexandre Chevalier
Publisher: Oxbow Books
ISBN: 1842175149
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
This first monograph in the EARTH series, The dynamics of non-industrial agriculture: 8,000 years of resilience and innovation, approaches the great variety of agricultural practices in human terms. It focuses on the relationship between plants and people, the complexity of agricultural processes and their organisation within particular communities and societies. Collaborative European research among archaeologists, archaeobotanists, ethnographers, historians and agronomists using a broad analytical scale of investigation seeks to establish new common ground for integrating different approaches. By means of interdisciplinary examples, this book showcases the relationship between people and plants across wide ranging and diverse spatial and temporal milieus, including crop diversity, the use of wild foodstuffs, social context, status and choices of food plants.

Exploring and Explaining Diversity in Agricultural Technology

Author: Annelou van Gijn
Publisher: Oxbow Books
ISBN: 1842175157
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
This volume is the outcome of collaborative European research among archaeologists, archaeobotanists, ethnographers, historians and agronomists, and frequently uses experiments in archaeology. It aims to establish new common ground for integrating different approaches and for viewing agriculture from the standpoint of the human actors involved. Each chapter provides an interdisciplinary overview of the skills used and the social context of the pursuit of agriculture, highlighting examples of tools, technologies and processes from land clearance to cereal processing and food preparation. This is the second of three volumes in the EARTH monograph series, The dynamics of non-industrial agriculture: 8,000 years of resilience and innovation , which shows the great variety of agricultural practices in human terms, in their social, political, cultural and legal contexts.

The Diversity of Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393319408
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
The classic story of how life on Earth evolved and how the diversity of the species is threatened unless whole ecosystems are rescued. Color plates.

Agricultural and Pastoral Landscapes in Pre Industrial Society

Author: Fèlix Retamero
Publisher: Oxbow Books
ISBN: 1782970142
Format: PDF
Download Now
Through a series of case studies, this third volume in the Earth series deals with the technological constraints and innovations that enabled societies to survive and thrive across a range of environmental conditions. The contributions are structured into three sections to draw out particular commonalities and contrasts in the choices made by pre-industrial communities in the construction of varied landscapes and cultural heritage: Landnam, from the Old Norse for ‘taking of land’, deals with colonisation, including the drivers and processes through which colonisers developed an understanding of the productive potential and limitations of their new lands. Fields and field systems: Field-walls are a distinctive and apparently timeless characteristic of many pre-industrial farming landscapes but they present many the challenges to their study, such as the effects of ploughing, abandonment and land-use change and of urban development in fertile lowland zones which may eradicate, reduce or conceal past systems of land-use and division. The importance of indirect and proxy evidence is illustrated and the value of interdisciplinary and modelling approaches emphasised. Agro-pastoralism: focuses on the complex ‘time-space adaptations’ devised for managing cultivation and livestock production, particularly the need to prevent stock incursions into arable fields during the growing season whilst making effective use of seasonal grazing resources. The contributions focus on mountainous areas, where temporary migrations, in the form of transhumance, provided access to a diversity of resources based around seasonal constraints on their availability and productivity.

Shattering

Author: Cary Fowler
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 9780816511815
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
It was through control of the shattering of wild seeds that humans first domesticated plants. Now control over those very plants threatens to shatter the world's food supply, as loss of genetic diversity sets the stage for widespread hunger. Large-scale agriculture has come to favor uniformity in food crops. More than 7,000 U.S. apple varieties once grew in American orchards; 6,000 of them are no longer available. Every broccoli variety offered through seed catalogs in 1900 has now disappeared. As the international genetics supply industry absorbs seed companies—with nearly one thousand takeovers since 1970—this trend toward uniformity seems likely to continue; and as third world agriculture is brought in line with international business interests, the gene pools of humanity's most basic foods are threatened. The consequences are more than culinary. Without the genetic diversity from which farmers traditionally breed for resistance to diseases, crops are more susceptible to the spread of pestilence. Tragedies like the Irish Potato Famine may be thought of today as ancient history; yet the U.S. corn blight of 1970 shows that technologically based agribusiness is a breeding ground for disaster. Shattering reviews the development of genetic diversity over 10,000 years of human agriculture, then exposes its loss in our lifetime at the hands of political and economic forces. The possibility of crisis is real; this book shows that it may not be too late to avert it.

Inheritors of the Earth

Author: Chris D. Thomas
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 1610397282
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

What a Plant Knows

Author: Daniel Chamovitz
Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429946237
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather? For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin's early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn's distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. But now, in What a Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you've been playing for them or if they're more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings. A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature.

Many

Author: Nicola Davies
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 0763694835
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one including us is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one?

The Botany of Desire

Author: Michael Pollan
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 0375760393
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Focusing on the human relationship with plants, the author of Second Nature uses botany to explore four basic human desires--sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control--through portraits of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato. 100,000 first printing.

Why Some Like It Hot

Author: Gary Paul Nabhan
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1610913574
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Do your ears burn whenever you eat hot chile peppers? Does your face immediately flush when you drink alcohol? Does your stomach groan if you are exposed to raw milk or green fava beans? If so, you are probably among the one-third of the world's human population that is sensitive to certain foods due to your genes' interactions with them. Formerly misunderstood as "genetic disorders," many of these sensitivities are now considered to be adaptations that our ancestors evolved in response to the dietary choices and diseases they faced over millennia in particular landscapes. They are liabilities only when we are "out of place," on globalized diets depleted of certain chemicals that triggered adaptive responses in our ancestors. In Why Some Like It Hot, an award-winning natural historian takes us on a culinary odyssey to solve the puzzles posed by "the ghosts of evolution" hidden within every culture and its traditional cuisine. As we travel with Nabhan from Java and Bali to Crete and Sardinia, to Hawaii and Mexico, we learn how various ethnic cuisines formerly protected their traditional consumers from both infectious and nutrition-related diseases. We also bear witness to the tragic consequences of the loss of traditional foods, from adult-onset diabetes running rampant among 100 million indigenous peoples to the historic rise in heart disease among individuals of northern European descent. In this, the most insightful and far-reaching book of his career, Nabhan offers us a view of genes, diets, ethnicity, and place that will forever change the way we understand human health and cultural diversity. This book marks the dawning of evolutionary gastronomy in a way that may save and enrich millions of lives.