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This book is an introduction to organic chemistry and its compounds as related to plants. Chemistry tends to be seen as a field that is hard to comprehend and that has few connections with the living world. This book fills a gap as it eases access to organic chemistry by connecting it with plants and includes numerous photos and other illustrations. The book is a combination of organic chemistry with the living world of plants and is an introduction to organic plant compounds for the non-chemist. It starts with a review of basic concepts of chemistry as they relate to plant life, followed by an introduction to structures of organic compounds, which prepares the reader for the following chapters on primary metabolites and on plant fragrances, pigments, and plant defensive compounds. The final chapter relates plant compounds to human life, with subchapters on foods from plants, medicines, psychoactives, fibers, and dyes. Historic discoveries of plant compounds and their developments to contemporary uses, like modern pharmaceuticals, and a section on genetically modified plants, connect with topics of recent interest. The book leads the serious reader from chemistry basics to complex plant substances and their human uses and plant photos and stories accompany chemistry topics and chemical structures to aid understanding. The author, an organic chemist and plant enthusiast, has taught popular undergraduate college level courses on plant chemistry to non-chemistry majors and numerous field seminars to the general public for more than fifteen years. The book's topics and contents have been taught for many years and have proved successful in providing an understanding of plant compounds, organic compounds, and their importance. The book provides a basis for a better understanding of chemistry and its connections to the world of plants, the natural world in general, and to daily life. It is aimed at non-chemistry undergraduate students and to people in general who are interested in plants and who would like to learn more about them. It addresses an audience with little previous chemistry knowledge, yet, leads the serious reader to an understanding of sometimes complex plant compounds, by providing an introduction to chemistry basics, combining the chemistry with pictures and stories, and using simple, clear language. The book can be used both as a text to introduce organic chemistry as it relates to plants and as a text of reference for more advanced readers.
This book explains the natural chemical compounds that determine the fascinating interactions between plants and insects providing a gentle and absorbing introduction to organic chemistry.
Few people are aware of the great diversity of resin-producing plants or the remarkable roles resins play in the lives of plants and people. Plant Resins tells the whole story about these fascinating plant products.
The Green Thread is an interdisciplinary collection of essays that takes the risk of departing from the long-standing human perception of plants—defined by what they are thought to lack, including autonomy, agency, consciousness, and, arguably, intelligence—to explore new territories where the re-conceptualization of vegetal beings as active agents in social and cultural environments becomes possible.
Tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus) is a resilient and common hardwood tree native to California and southwestern Oregon. People�s radically different perceptions of it have ranged from treasured food plant to cash crop to trash tree. Having studied the patterns of tanoak use and abuse for nearly twenty years, botanist Frederica Bowcutt uncovers a complex history of cultural, sociopolitical, and economic factors affecting the tree�s fate. Still valued by indigenous communities for its nutritious acorn nut, the tree has also been a source of raw resources for a variety of industries since white settlement of western North America. Despite ongoing protests, tanoaks are now commonly killed with herbicides in industrial forests in favor of more commercially valuable coast redwood and Douglas-fir. As one nontoxic alternative, many foresters and communities promote locally controlled, third-party certified sustainable hardwood production using tanoak, which doesn�t depend on clearcutting and herbicide use. Today tanoaks are experiencing massive die-offs due to sudden oak death, an introduced disease. Bowcutt examines the complex set of factors that set the stage for the tree�s current ecological crisis. The end of the book focuses on hopeful changes including reintroduction of low-intensity burning to reduce conifer competition for tanoaks, emerging disease resistance in some trees, and new partnerships among tanoak defenders, including botanists, foresters, Native Americans, and plant pathologists. Watch the book trailer:
One of the most important hotspots of herpetological biodiversity in the United States, California is home to many endemic amphibians and reptiles found nowhere else on earth. Many of these taxa have unique ecological and morphological specializations, and their management is an important conservation challenge. Increasing climate change impacts, human development, and extreme drought mean many of these species face an ever-greater risk of extinction. California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern provides an up-to-date synthesis of the current state of knowledge regarding the biology and conservation risks faced by 45 of California’s most sensitive amphibian and reptile species. With the goal of enhancing management based on the best available science, the authors developed a novel set of risk metrics to identify special concern species and the threats they face, including population declines, range size and restrictions, and ecological specializations and niche restrictions. In addition to detailed species accounts, this book provides a quantitative analysis of the conservation status and pressing management issues facing individual species and the state’s amphibian and reptile fauna as a whole. The volume focuses on identifying threats, concrete recommendations for management and recovery, and future research needs. The text is complemented by detailed distribution maps, color photos, and graphs. Written in nontechnical language, California Amphibian and Reptile Species of Special Concern will be a valuable resource to a broad range of users from resource managers, field biologists, and academic herpetologists to students and recreational naturalists. Published in association with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, David Lee began this book twenty-five years ago as he was hiking in the mountains outside Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by the wonders of the jungle, Lee found his attention drawn to one plant in particular, a species of fern whose electric blue leaves shimmered amidst the surrounding green. The evolutionary wonder of the fern’s extravagant beauty filled Lee with awe—and set him on a career-long journey to understand everything about plant colors. Nature’s Palette is the fully ripened fruit of that journey—a highly illustrated, immensely entertaining exploration of the science of plant color. Beginning with potent reminders of how deeply interwoven plant colors are with human life and culture—from the shifting hues that told early humans when fruits and vegetables were edible to the indigo dyes that signified royalty for later generations—Lee moves easily through details of pigments, the evolution of color perception, the nature of light, and dozens of other topics. Through a narrative peppered with anecdotes of a life spent pursuing botanical knowledge around the world, he reveals the profound ways that efforts to understand and exploit plant color have influenced every sphere of human life, from organic chemistry to Renaissance painting to the highly lucrative orchid trade. Lavishly illustrated and packed with remarkable details sure to delight gardeners and naturalists alike, Nature’s Palette will enchant anyone who’s ever wondered about red roses and blue violets—or green thumbs.

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