The Emerald Planet: How plants changed Earths history by David Beerling

The Emerald Planet: How plants changed Earths history

byDavid Beerling

Paperback | October 1, 2008

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Plants have transformed our planet over the last 400 million years as they invaded the land and diversified into the astonishing variety we know today. But their influence has reached even further: they have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Farfrom being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them.In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants,from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how plants played a starringrole in pushing oxygen levels upwards, allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and it strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victoriantimes onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles.This new understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the worldthrough the stories they tell.

About The Author

David Beerling is Professor of Palaeoclimatology at the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences University of Sheffield. Before this he held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, where his work on the evolution of life and the physical environment was recognized by the award of a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in earth s...
The Emerald Planet: How plants changed Earth's history
The Emerald Planet: How plants changed Earth's history

by David Beerling

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Details & Specs

Title:The Emerald Planet: How plants changed Earths historyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 1 inPublished:October 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199548145

ISBN - 13:9780199548149

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. Leaves, genes and greenhouse gases3. Oxygen and the lost world of giants4. An ancient ozone catastrophe?5. Global warming ushers in the dinosaur era6. The flourishing forests of Antarctica7. Paradise lost8. Nature's green revolution9. Through a glass darklyNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

`The Emerald Planet is a serious talking to about why plants must not be ignored. Everyone should appreciate this ... and also know, Beerling argues, how plants fit into the global picture. 'Jonathan Silvertown, Times Literary Supplement