Demons in Eden: The Paradox of Plant Diversity
At the heart of evolution lies a bewildering paradox. Natural selection favors above all the individual that leaves the most offspring—a superorganism of sorts that Jonathan Silvertown here calls the "Darwinian demon." But if such a demon existed, this highly successful organism would populate the entire world with its own kind, beating out other species and eventually extinguishing biodiversity as we know it. Why then, if evolution favors this demon, is the world filled with so many different life forms? What keeps this Darwinian demon in check? If humankind is now the greatest threat to biodiversity on the planet, have we become the Darwinian demon?
Demons in Eden considers these questions using the latest scientific discoveries from the plant world. Readers join Silvertown as he explores the astonishing diversity of plant life in regions as spectacular as the verdant climes of Japan, the lush grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the shallow wetlands and teeming freshwaters of Florida, the tropical rainforests of southeast Mexico, and the Canary Islands archipelago, whose evolutionary novelties—and exotic plant life—have earned it the sobriquet "the Galapagos of botany." Along the way, Silvertown looks closely at the evolution of plant diversity in these locales and explains why such variety persists in light of ecological patterns and evolutionary processes. In novel and useful ways, he also investigates the current state of plant diversity on the planet to show the ever-challenging threats posed by invasive species and humans.
Bringing the secret life of plants into more colorful and vivid focus than ever before, Demons in Eden is an empathic and impassioned exploration of modern plant ecology that unlocks evolutionary mysteries of the natural world.
What people are saying - Write a review
Review: Demons in Eden: The Paradox of Plant DiversityUser Review - Drew - Goodreads
I really enjoyed this well-written book, which began to satisfy my desire to learn more about plant evolution without having to read a botany textbook. Each chapter was a case study of plant diversity ... Read full review
Review: Demons in Eden: The Paradox of Plant DiversityUser Review - sandusky - Goodreads
this is a great introduction to biodiversity in plants; how it arises, how it persists, and how human activity affects plant diversity. i am not a biologist and found this book to be pitched perfectly for me. Read full review
In the Beat of a Heart:: Life, Energy, and the Unity of Nature
Limited preview - 2006
Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
Douglas W. Tallamy
No preview available - 2007