Crop Evolution, Adaptation and Yield

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The efforts of countless agriculturalists over the past ten thousand years have led to the improvement of a wide range of agricultural crops. In this major new work, Lloyd Evans provides an integrated view of their domestication, adaptation and improvement, bringing together genetic diversity, plant breeding, physiology and aspects of agronomy. Considerations of yield and maximum yield provide continuity throughout the book. Food, feed, libre, fuel and pharmaceutical crops are all discussed. Cereals, grain legumes and root crops, both temperate and tropical, provide many of the examples, but pasture plants, oilseeds, leafy crops, fruit trees and others are also considered. The introductory chapter traverses the overall argument linking those that follow. The increasing significance of crop yields to the world's food supply is then highlighted. The next three chapters consider changes to crop plants over the past ten thousand years. First there are those conferring adaptedness to cultivation, through the process of domestication. Then there are those required for adaptation to different environments as the domesticated crops spread around the world. Finally there are those changes involved in the improvement of yield potential. These are treated at length because their nature is often misunderstood, yet has important implications for the relation between plant breeding and agronomy, for development policy and for environmental management. Trends in yield from early times to the present day are then considered, along with the scope for, and constraints on, further increases. The crucial roles of input innovation and synergism are illustrated, along with examples of how diminishing returns to input energy have been avoided. The final chapter on the future of yield hazards some guesses about the way in which agriculture may be transformed over the next fifty years. Although aimed at research workers and advanced students in crop physiology and ecology, agronomy and
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the strength of this work is that it takes an integrated approach. The concept of yield is tied to domestication, adaptation, and improvement. Elements of genetic diversity, plant breeding, physiology, and agronomy help to expand the material....Highly recommended for agricultural collections." R.P. Poincelot, Choice

" amazing book....The author truly breaks new ground and has created a whole new way to look at crop plant evolution and improvement....both the Cambridge University Press and the author should be congratulated for a brave step forward and beyond the maddening crowd's 'same and safe' writing." Garrison Wilkes, Plant Science Bulletin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521295581
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 514
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Crop yields and world food supply 32
3 The domestication of crop plants 62
4 Adaptation and the ecology of yield 113
5 Physiological aspects of crop improvement 169
6 Increases in yield: trends and limits 269
7 Inputs and the efficient use of resources 317
8 The future of yield 365
References 391
Appendix: List of acronyms and abbreviations 484
Index 486
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