Please note: a black-&-white version is also available.
Indicator Plants: Using Plants to Evaluate the Environment is written by Dr Paul L. Smith with three sets of people in mind:
- Junior ecological consultants who want to improve their Phase 1 Habitat Surveys with botanical target notes useful in ecological assessment.
- Students of ecology who need to use plants to interpret the landscape around them and understand habitats in greater detail.
- Amateur naturalists and walkers who seek to enrich their experience of the countryside through a knowledge of plants.
Plants and their assemblages do not occur randomly in the environment. Their distribution is dictated by overarching environmental variables, which in many cases are well known. By knowing the species and something of its tolerances, the nature of the environment in which it is found can be deduced. Particularly useful examples are known as "indicator plants"; these are keys to a broader understanding of the ecosystem and form the subject of this practical guide.
Compiled from a range of published sources and from the author's personal experience, it is intended for use primarily in the lowland English countryside. Relevant published sources are cited in the tables and fully referenced at the end of the book. The appendices include a worked excercise to test the skills learnt in using Indicator Plants: Using Plants to Evaluate the Environment.
This book is an informative addition to a botanist's bookshelf – be they amateur or professional. I've found its in-depth discussion on plants and their indicator habitats to be particularly useful this survey season; in particular those concerned with woodland. Accessible and easy to use when you need to research a particular plant..