256 pages, illustrations
Agriculture and food production have a large footprint on the landscape globally and compete for space with land for nature conservation. Plant Resources for Food, Fuel and Conservation explores the competition between the food needs of a growing human population and the conservation of biodiversity as intensified by the emerging use of crops for energy production. As concern about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate grows and oil prices increase, energy production from agricultural crops has become a significant industry.
At the same time, growth in food demand due to population growth has been accelerated by growing affluence associated with economic growth in major developing countries increasing per capita consumption. Consumers are concerned that the price of food will continue to increase sharply as a result of this competition but a loss of biodiversity may be another major outcome. Drawing on his expertise in plant conservation genetics, the author provides a balanced appraisal of the potential for developing new or improved crops for food or bioenergy production in the context of climate change, while at the same time protecting biodiversity.
"This is not only an interesting and informative book but is highly relevant and well-timed. Robert Henry explores the diverse uses of plants and challenges the reader to contemplate some of the choices that future generations will face in terms of food, fuel and environmental protection."
– Kerrie Farrar, Aberystwyth University, UK
"Henry's book deals with biofuels – an alternative, renewable energy source in a world that confronts us today with diverse opportunities and challenges due to climate change. It provides a comprehensive and thoughtful account on the potential for producing biofuels without harming biodiversity or food security."
– Rodomiro Ortiz, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico
"Highly accessible and well-written book [...] With consideration of both current and potential plant species for multiple uses, as well as a discussion on balancing conservation and agriculture, this is an excellent introduction to the issues of increasing demands for plant products."
"[...] an in-depth and compelling exposé on the necessity of maintaining the expanse and genetic diversiy of the world's plant resources to meet future global challenges [...] this book will be worthwhile and educational to both scientists and nonscientists in facilitating an understanding of human dependence on plant resources."
– G.E. Aiken, Choice, August 2010.
1. Plants for Food, Energy and the Environment
2. Plant Resources for Food and Fibre
3. Impact of Climate Change on Food and Fibre Production
4. Energy Resources
5. Plant Resources for Bio-Energy and Chemical Feedstock Uses
6. Competition between Food and Fuel Production
7. Plants and the Environment
8. Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity
9. Competition between Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation
10. Domestication of New Species
11. Options for the Future
References and Further Reading
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Robert Henry is Director of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics at Southern Cross University, Australia. He is the author or editor of several books on plant molecular biology, genetics, evolution and biodiversity.