Vegetation and Soils: A World Picture

Vegetation and Soils: A World Picture

Vegetation and Soils: A World Picture

Vegetation and Soils: A World Picture

Excerpt

This book contains nothing which is beyond the understanding of anyone who has profited by the liberal education provided in a good secondary school. It assumes no basic scientific knowledge beyond the elementary chemistry and botany which can be gained from standard courses in general science and general biology; it demands no factual information about geology and climate beyond that which can be found in general text books on the physical basis of geography. Provided the reader is conversant with such terms as 'molecule', 'transpiration' and 'evolution' no difficulties in terminology should be encountered. Although more difficult technical terms are introduced, every effort has been made to make their meaning clear from the context in which they occur; furthermore, a glossary of technical terms has been appended.

The requirements of students in upper sixth forms and in their first year at college and university have been borne particularly in mind. Essentially the book is intended as a contribution to the study of the physical basis of geography; it should therefore be of particular interest to all who embark upon advanced, diploma or degree courses in geography. It is hoped that students of botany and agriculture also will find here an ecological view of the world which will provide some intellectual stimulus and perspective.

Although this is a mere introduction to the study of vegetation and soil distribution, an effort has been made to avoid over-generalisation and scientific untruth. Too often in the past have the reasons for these distributions been much over-simplified. It is partly for this reason that climatic correlations receive little mention here. Although climate is of such obvious importance in soil and vegetation development, its relationships with them are usually very complicated. Consequently, there is always a danger of misunderstanding when exact values of temperature and precipitation are mentioned in the same context as biotic distributions. The reader may be tempted to assume that the latter are determined by the former. Systematic treatment of climate is limited here to an appendix in which some mean monthly precipitation and temperature figures are tabulated for two or three stations within the area occupied by . . .

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