363 pages, 98 b/w photos, 21 b/w illustrations
Hardback reprint of a book originally published in 2002.
Before any other influences began to fashion life and its lavish diversity, geological events created the initial environments – both physical and chemical – for the evolutionary drama that followed.
Drawing on case histories from around the world, Arthur Kruckeberg demonstrates the role of landforms and rock types in producing the unique geographical distributions of plants and in stimulating evolutionary diversification. His examples range throughout the rich and heterogeneous tapestry of the earth's surface: the dramatic variations of mountainous topography, the undulating ground and crevices of level limestone karst, and the subtle realm of sand dunes. He describes the ongoing evolutionary consequences of the geology-plant interface and the often underestimated role of geology in shaping climate.
Kruckeberg explores the fundamental connection between plants and geology, including the historical roots of geobotany, the reciprocal relations between geology and other environmental influences, geomorphology and its connection with plant life, lithology as a potent selective agent for plants, and the physical and biological influences of soils. Special emphasis is given to the responses of plants to exceptional rock types and their soils – serpentines, limestones, and other azonal (exceptional) substrates. Edaphic ecology, especially of serpentines, has been his specialty for years.
Kruckeberg's research fills a significant gap in the field of environmental science by connecting the conventionally separated disciplines of the physical and biological sciences. Geology and Plant Life is the result of more than forty years of research into the question of why certain plants grow on certain soils and certain terrain structures, and what happens when this relationship is disrupted by human agents. It will be useful to a wide spectrum of professionals in the natural sciences: plant ecologists, paleobiologists, climatologists, soil scientists, geologists, geographers, and conservation scientists, as well as serious amateurs in natural history.
"This book provides not only a permanent and thoroughly engaging record of a rarely studied corner of social history, but it also inspires."
– North American Native Plant Society
"[Kruckeberg] draws on many years of botanical experience to make an eloquent plea for understanding the influences of landforms, lithology, and geologic history on the living world."
– Quarterly Review of Biology
"No other recent book covers these interconnected series of subjects with as broad a scope."
"A fine book and a very approachable overview of the intersections between geology and the plant sciences."
"A provocative work with a detailed and fascinating perspective for the serious student of nature, including any enthusiast of plants and their rocks. In this work you will thoroughly explore a unique concept that will enhance your appreciation for the natural richness of the earth's landscape."
– Rock Garden Quarterly
"Geology and Plant Life has a unique place in scientific literature. It brings together geology and botany in an understandable, integrated synthesis."
– Native Plant Society of Oregon Bulletin
"This is a fascinating book for the observant traveler who has noticed and puzzled about startling contrasts in vegetation between one side of a hill and the other. It is a book to be read slowly, to ponder and appreciate; a book that arouses curiosity and provides explanations for vexing observations in the field."
– Current Books on Gardening and Botany
- The Geology-Plant Interface
- Geobotany: Its Historical Roots
- Geoedaphics and Other Environmental Influences: Their Reciprocal Relationships
- Landforms (Geomorphology) and Plant Life
- The Influences of Lithology on Plant Life
- Implication of Geoedaphics for Systematics and Evolution
- Geoedaphics and Biogeography (Geology and the Distribution of Plants)
- Human Influences on the Geology-Plant Interface
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Arthur R. Kruckeberg is the author of The Natural History of Puget Sound Country and Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest. He is professor emeritus of botany at the University of Washington.