A comprehensive overview of Earth s biosphere, written with scientific rigor and essay like flair.In his latest book, Vaclav Smil tells the story of the Earth s biosphere from its origins to its near and long term future He explains the workings of its parts and what is known about their interactions With essay like flair, he examines the biosphere s physics, chemistry, biology, geology, oceanography, energy, climatology, and ecology, as well as the changes caused by human activity He provides both the basics of the story and surprising asides illustrating critical but often neglected aspects of biospheric complexity.Smil begins with a history of the modern idea of the biosphere, focusing on the development of the concept by Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky He explores the probability of life elsewhere in the universe, life s evolution and metabolism, and the biosphere s extent, mass, productivity, and grand scale organization Smil offers fresh approaches to such well known phenomena as solar radiation and plate tectonics and introduces lesser known topics such as the quarter power scaling of animal and plant metabolism across body sizes and metabolic pathways He also examines two sets of fundamental relationships that have profoundly influenced the evolution of life and the persistence of the biosphere symbiosis and the role of life s complexity as a determinant of biomass productivity and resilience And he voices concern about the future course of human caused global environmental change, which could compromise the biosphere s integrity and threaten the survival of modern civilization....
|Title||:||The Earth's Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (MIT Press)|
|Publisher||:||The MIT Press August 11, 2003|
|Number of Pages||:||356 pages|
|File Size||:||883 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Earth's Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (MIT Press) Reviews
I'll be glad to change (and likely upgrade this review). Problem is, the print (font, size & amount of ink) - I can't read it !
This is a survey of biology (from cell biology to biome-scale ecology) and geography as pertaining to the earth's biosphere - where life on earth came from (as far as it can be known), how it will end, where it has spread, how life affects the natural cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and other elements, what are the scaling laws for animals and plants, what is the total biomass of wild mammals, domesticated bovids and humans, and so on. So far as a nonbiologist can understand it, this is very interesting stuff.
I'm reading this as a textbook for a course in my Master's program but it would be an interesting read anyways. It's very "meaty" with detailed descriptions of Earth's processes and human impacts on them. Highly recommend!
Book should be read by every human on the planet. The biosphere is a living organism which we are harming to our own demise.
Few more complete and accessible syntheses of recent research in climate, evolution, and environmental studies exist. If your last bio class was high school, reading Smil can catch you up.
This rather slim book (271 pages of text) is a comprehensive overview of the Earth's Biosphere, a detailed accounting of our planet from the atmosphere to the oceans and the earth's crust, everything that in any way affects life on Earth, from the smallest viral particles to sperm whales, from tiny spores to giant sequoias.