In Praise Of Plants

In Praise Of Plants


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Francis Halle examines the human---and even scientific---bias toward animals at the expense of our understanding of plants. Readers will find their ideas about plants fundamentally altered and their appreciation immeasurably enhanced. This is a black-and-white edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604692624
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/12/2011
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Francis Halle is a professor of botany at the University of Montpellier, France. A previous book, Tropical Trees and Forests: An Architectural Analysis (1978), coauthored with Roelof Oldeman and Barry Tomlinson, is one of the most frequently consulted in tropical botany. Professor Halle is a pioneer in exploring life in the treetops of tropical forests, using a blimp-borne inflatable raft that rests on the tops of the trees of the canopy.

Read an Excerpt

Replacing elephant ivory with vegetable ivory has been presented as an environmental victory. However, who is concerned about the bleak future for the palms that provide the vegetable ivory, the strange Phytelephas of the understory in the western Amazonian rain forest, whose existence is threatened by the destruction of the last primary forests at the foot of the Andes? Would we prefer to see palms vanish rather than elephants?

At the supermarket I found a shampoo , 'Pure, natural, with essential oils of sage and juniper berry, chamomile, orange and wood rose.' The label stated nicely, 'This product was not tested on animals.' Why do we have a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but not one for prevention of cruelty to plants? Why do we have leagues against vivisection but do not protect plane trees against pollarding by arborists?

Let us accept the evidence. Humans have a passion for animals even if they come to prefer them on the plate rather than admiring them for their freedom. Interest in animals persists as a deep emotion, completely accessible and common to all, profoundly natural. We cannot say the same about plants ... Plants to us are principally food, drink, medicine, raw material for industry, pasturage for domestic animals, green space for cities, landscapes for relaxation. They do not arouse any real passion in most of us.

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