Crop Ecology is centred on the 'production processes' of crops and pastures – photosynthesis and use of water and nutrients in fields. Crop Ecology is unique in its combination of great breadth and depth in its treatment of production processes and systems problems. The approach is explanatory and integrative, with a firm basis in environmental physics, soils, physiology, and morphology, in contrast to descriptive or reductionist approaches. Systems concepts are introduced early and expanded as Crop Ecology proceeds, giving emphasis to quantitative approaches, to management strategies and tactics employed by farmers, and to environmental issues. The systems approach is brought together in the final chapters where production and nutrient cycling are analyzed, for example farms and problems in an uncertain future are considered. Crop Ecology is based on courses taught by the authors in Australia and the United States and is designed for use as a text for an introductory course in crop ecology (advanced undergraduates and beginning post-graduate level). It is more than a text, however. Given the wide range of subjects, the authors have integrated reference and background material to create a 'stand-alone' reference work useful to a wide audience of agriculturalists.
Part I. Farming Systems and Their Biological Components:
1. Agricultural systems
2. Trophic chains
3. Community concepts
4. Genetic resources
Part II. Physical and Chemical Environments:
6. Aerial environment
7. Soil resources
Part III. Production Processes:
8. Nitrogen processes
9. Water relations
11. Respiration and partitioning
Part IV. Resource Management:
12. Soil management
13. Strategies and tactics for rainfed agriculture
14. Water management in irrigated agriculture
15. Energy and labor
Part V. Farming, Then, Now and in the Future:
16. Evolution of wheat farming systems in southern Australia
17. Technological change in high-yield agriculture
18. The future of agriculture
Conversions and constants useful in crop ecology
D. J. Connor is Emeritus Professor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne. His research programs deal with land and environmental relationships of a range of irrigated and rain fed cropping systems. In 2003 he was awarded the Donald Medal for outstanding contributions by the Australian Society of Agronomy.
R. S. Loomis is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis. His research interests include photosynthetic productivity, nutrient and water management, and integrated simulation models.
K. G. Cassman is Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska. His research focuses on nutrient cycling and crop nutrient requirements, crop yield potential and water productivity of irrigated crops. In 2006 he received the Agronomic Research Award from the American Society of Agronomy.
"The new edition of Crop Ecology, by Connor, Loomis, and Cassman, retains the strengths of the earlier edition, namely, insightful analysis of the key principles that explain crop resource use and growth, based on extensive use of peer-reviewed data, averaging more than one graph or table per page. Any practitioner or student of 'evidence-based agriculture' needs a copy of this book."
- R. Ford Denison, University of Minnesota, and author of Darwinian Agriculture
"[...] a timely update of a foundational text for college or graduate curricula providing comprehensive treatment of ecological principles and concepts central to achieving global food security and to conducting the environmental accounting critical to sustaining productivity through judicious natural resource management [...] an essential desk reference for practising systems agronomists, agro-ecologists, and agricultural economists and biological engineers pursuing biophysical life cycle analyses. With a predominant focus on staple crop systems, [the] authors [...] present key biophysical mechanisms and processes with detailed explanations of the quantitative approaches to their estimation; in-depth examples and case studies facilitate comprehension. Important new sections include ideotype concepts in respiration and partitioning, spatial variability in soil management, energy and labor requirements for bioenergy crops, and irrigation and world food supply. This book is remarkably easy to read and will be accessible to a range of knowledge levels and backgrounds."
- Sylvie M. Brouder, Purdue University
"[...] a good introductory text for students of agriculture and environmental science."
- The Biologist
"The second edition provides a worthy successor to the first. [...] It is easy to read despite containing a wealth of detail. It is definitely a book to recommend to serious students of crop science and of managed ecosystems."
- Journal of Agricultural Science
"This edition retains the engaging conversational tone that made the original volume popular with students. The presentation of crop ecology in this text employs unparalleled clarity to facilitate interest and learning. Despite its focus as an educational work, this book would have considerable utility as a reference for practitioners in the field. As with the original text, the second edition saves the best for last – Chapter 18 conveys the authors' collective vision for the future of agriculture. If this edition weathers the test of time as well as [the] original, then this chapter alone is required reading for agriculturalists."
- Thomas G. Chastain, The Quarterly Review of Biology