Available in July 2010
By John L. Harper
This book, written in 1977, brought together for the first time, the current knowledge of plants that might be relevant to understanding their population biology. “This monumental volume did more than summarize the state of plant biology; …it linked the conceptual and theoretical developments in population ecology, mostly derived from the study of animals, with field observations and experimental evidence of population regulation and life history evolution in plants. “
The author describes the processes that determine the number of plants (and the number of plant parts), examines the separate stages in a general model of population behavior, the ways in which individual plants interfere with each others growth and risk of death and aspects of the behavior of animals that influence or determine the size of plant populations.
“The field of population biology was already well established in the 1960s although with a clear zoocentric emphasis, however, it is because of Harper’s work that the field experienced a veritable explosion, reached maturity and became a mainstream scientific endeavour worldwide. This field is so vast now that it would be pointless, if not impossible, for someone to summarise it. It is precisely because of this that PBP is as relevant now as it was in 1977. John Harper’s style of highlighting unanswered questions and the limitations of both theory and empirical evidence served and still serves as foundation for research agendas worldwide. Much remains to be done in this field and this alone makes PBP an essential element in the library of every student/researcher of population biology, whether interested in plants or animals.” From the “Preface to the 2010 Printing” written by José Sarukhán, Rodolfo Dirzo and Miguel Franco.
John Lander Harper (1925 - 2009) was a British biologist, specializing in ecology and plant population biology. He worked in the Department of Agriculture, Oxford, and then as Professor of Botany in the University of North Wales. His books include Population Biology of Plants (1977) and Ecology, Individuals, Populations and Communities (1986). He served as president of the British Ecological Society (1967) and of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (1993-1995). He was a fellow of the Royal Society from 1978 and a member of its Council from 1987 89. He also received many honours for his work on ecology and plant population: he won the Eminent Ecologist Award of the Ecological Society of America in 1984, and received the Royal Society s Darwin award in 1990. He received the Millennium Botany Award in 1999.
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