Cover: The Diversity of Crop Plants, from Harvard University PressCover: The Diversity of Crop Plants in E-DITION

The Diversity of Crop Plants

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • €48.00

ISBN 9780674183551

Publication Date: 01/01/1983

184 pages



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Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

In their effort to increase the quantity and quality of food production, plant breeders and agronomists have sacrificed genetic variability in favor of a few guaranteed high-yielding strains, thereby limiting available alternatives in the face of changing environmental conditions and possible catastrophes.

In this vitally important book, J. G. Hawkes examines the ways in which cultivated plants have evolved and diversified, the importance of this diversity, and the means by which it can be protected and made available to breeders throughout the world.

His interdisciplinary approach, which begins with a discussion of the processes by which Neolithic man began converting an unpromising group of weeds into the staple food sources we know today, will engage the population geneticist, the agroecologist, the physiologist, the taxonomist, even the archaeologist and ethnobotanist. His final chapter on global strategies for conserving and utilizing the genetic heritage of plants drives home the urgent and practical message of the book—the necessity of maintaining crop plant diversity as we attempt to feed our planet’s growing population.

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