Demons in Eden: The Paradox of Plant Diversity

Paperback | August 1, 2008

byJonathan Silvertown

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Jonathan Silvertown here explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet “the Galápagos of botany.” Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans.
      This paperback edition will include an entirely new chapter on the astonishing diversity of plant life in the Western Cape of South Africa that focuses on fynbos, a vegetation endemic to the Cape. Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.
     “Jonathan Silvertown has a knack for explaining complex biological concepts in an accessible and engaging way. He deftly uses analogy and example to illustrate his discussions, and often waxes lyrical in his descriptions.”—Viveka Neveln, American Gardener
       “Jonathan Silvertown’s enthusiasm for scientific sleuthing is infectious.”—Sara Alexander, Science 
      “A delightful series of vignettes about plant diversity and evolutionary biology. . . . It is evident that Jonathan Silvertown is a scientist who can communicate complex scientific ideas to the general public. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

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From the Publisher

Jonathan Silvertown here explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evol...

Jonathan Silvertown is professor of ecology at the Open University, Milton Keynes. He is the author or editor of Integrating Ecology and Evolution in a Spatial Context; Plant Life Histories: Ecological Correlates and Phylogenetic Constraints; More Than the Parts: Biology and Politics; Introduction to Plant Population Biology; and An Or...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:202 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:August 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226757722

ISBN - 13:9780226757728

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
1. An Evolving Eden
2. The Tree of Trees
3. Succulent Isles
4. Demon Mountain
5. The Panama Paradox
6. Nix Nitch
7. Liebig's Revenge
8. Florida!
9. New Demons?
10. The End of Eden?
Scientific Names of Plants Mentioned in the Text
Sources and Further Reading
Index