I just finished reading a very interesting book called What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz. The author, a genetics Ph.D. and the Dean of George S.Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Tel Aviv, sheds fascinating insight into the various senses and the memory of plants. Chamovitz does not try to make plants look like humans but focuses on known facts and research on the subject. Still, he manages to mesmerise the reader by describing the research processes and the amazing results. After reading the book I am once again more in awe of the ingenious nature we live in.
Urban Ecology: Patterns, Processes, and Applications (Oxford University Press, 2011) is a fascinating book edited by Jari Niemelä et al. The book forms a comprehensive look into urban ecology and its different fields and aspects. It is written by a international team of leading scientists that really know what they are writing about. The book consists of five sections:
- Ecology in Cities: Man-Made Physical Conditions describes the physical urban environment such as urban climate, urban soils and hydrology.
- Ecology in Cities: Patterns of Urban Biodiversity explains the different patterns from controlling processes to composition and diversity of urban vegetation. One interesting chapter also tells about the vegetation on hard surfaces.
- Ecology in Cities: Processes affecting Urban Biodiversity delves into the relationship between humans and other organisms in urban areas and tells for example about the different effects of urbanisation on ecology and evolution of arthropods.
- Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services and Social Systems in Urban Landscapes describes the concept and role of ecosystem services in urban planning and also adds a historical perspective of social-ecological transformations in urban landscapes.
- Urban Design, Planning and Management: Lessons from Ecology tells about the connection between urban ecology and human health and describes through examples how people and wildlife could be better accommodated in cities.
Urban Ecology: Patterns, Processes, and Applications is a treasure chest of diverse knowledge about urban ecology. It is a must read for anyone interested in urban ecology or planning.