Sustainable Horticulture: Today and Tomorrow

Article excerpt

Sustainable Horticulture: Today and Tomorrow, by Raymond P. Poincefot, Prentice Half, 2004, 869 pages, $89.00

Raymond P. Poincelot's book Sustainable Horticulture, Today and Tomorrow covers the fundamentals of horticultural science with an obvious strong emphasis on sustainability. Section One of the book introduces the concept of sustainability for horticulture by defining the terminology, outlining a bit of the history and more significantly the need for sustainable practices. Section Two moves into the fundamentals of plant taxonomy, anatomy, physiology and environmental influences. Section Three covers the horticultural practices of propagation and genetic improvement including biotechnology. This third section also serves to address energy consumption in production, soil and water sustainability, home horticulture, enclosed environment horticulture, growth manipulation and plant protection. The fourth and final section gives consideration to the three basic areas of horticulture: ornamental, olericulture and pomology.

Poincelot's coverage of the basic principles of horticulture is very well done. Clearly labeled line drawings supplement the text nicely in the chapter on plant parts and function. Photosynthesis, respiration and other physiological processes are described in much detail, which includes figures of chemical structures and pathway illustrations. The chapters from section three onward incorporate many more black and white photographs of exceptional quality and clarity. The chapter on energy consumption in horticulture is thought provoking as the author covers energy usage even to the western consumer's energy usage in driving to the market. A chapter central to the book's theme is "Sustaining Soil, Water, and the Environment and this chapter discusses those practices in clear detail. Greenhouse production is covered briefly but with sufficient overview for an introductory course. Similarly, plant protection, and growth regulation and the broad areas of horticultural production are discussed concisely but in sufficient detail for an introduction. …