Edited by James B. Grace and David Tilman
Originally published in 1990, continued requests for copies of Perspectives on Plant Competition by James B. Grace and David Tilman have demonstrated its utility to practitioners and especially to students.
The dynamics and outcomes of plant interactions are of increasingly great interest and importance to ecologists and environmental biologists. Ever since the effects of global environmental change have emerged as a major issue, ecologists have increasingly focused their work on predicting the responses of natural systems to environmental changes. This has forced us to confront both the unknowns and the complexity of species interactions. Simply put, it is now clear that, without a better understanding of the mechanisms of plant interactions, we will not be able to predict the responses of communities and ecosystems to elevated nitrogen deposition, to changes in species composition and diversity, to elevated atmospheric CO2, to climate change, or to invasive exotic species.
Work on plant interactions has continued unabated of course since the original printing of Perspectives on Plant Competition but the title is generally held to have had a positive effect on subsequent work on plant interactions, both by showcasing the variety of ways in which competition can be approached and by substantially reducing some of the confusion about issues that existed before its publication. It was always intended to stimulate further work on the topic while providing focus on the key issues in need of further study. It seems that, in this regard, it still has an important role to play in guiding future research on plant interactions. Perhaps an additional, continuing value is in the example it serves for the maturation of an important ecological topic. The lasting message of this book is that one cannot fully understand an idea without understanding the perspective upon which it is based, including the systems that have inspired the idea and the finer details of the research goals of those involved. Plant competition will continue to be a multifaceted topic. This book will continue to provide useful guidance for the further exploration of such interactions.
"This is certainly a required book for those working on plant competition, and an important reference for ecologists and biologists in general. In many ways, it will be a landmark, providing a snapshot of research at a critical time in the development of this field." Science 249, 1054
"I strongly recommend this well-edited, thoughtful book to all students of population biology and community ecology." Bioscience 41, 178
"Grace and Tilman’s book is suitable, even necessary, reading for both students and active researchers in both animal and plant community ecology. Although the emphasis is on plants, many animal ecologists can borrow ideas from the book, and it may also convince some of them to pay more attention to plants in the future." Journal of Vegetation Science 1, 567
Jim Grace obtained his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1980. He subsequently served on the faculty at the University of Arkansas from 1980 to 1985, before moving to Louisiana State University, where he was Professor of Botany until 1993. He joined the US Geological Survey - National Wetlands Research Center in 1992 and currently holds an Adjunct Professorship in Biology at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. His basic research specialization is in plant ecology, with an emphasis on species interactions, biodiversity, invasive species, and conservation biology. He has been elected to the positions of chair and vice-chair of the Ecological Section of the Botanical Society of America. He has also served on the editorial and review boards for a number of societies and organizations including; Ecological Society of America, Society of American Naturalists, International Society of Plant Ecology, Society for Aquatic Botany, and the Society of Wetland Scientists. His published works include a book with Bruce McCune entitled, Analysis of Ecological Communities, as well as over 85 other publications. He has given over 50 invited lectures around the US and the world. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Society of Wetland Scientists Award for Meritorious Research. At present, he leads a team of researchers that provide science support for conservation of coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico region. He also serves on invasive species and fire science advisory committees within the US Geological Survey.
David Tilman is an experimental and theoretical ecologist interested in biodiversity, in the controls of ecosystem composition, stability and productivity, and in the long-term implications for society of human impacts on global ecosystems. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1976. He immediately came to the University of Minnesota where he now is Regents Professor, holds the McKnight University Presidential Chair in Ecology and is Director of Cedar Creek Natural History Area. He has written two books, edited three books, and published more than 160 scientific papers.
His honors include Guggenheim Fellow (1984), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1985), Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995), Pew Scholar in Conservation Biology (1995), the Ecological Society of America’s Cooper Award (1989) and MacArthur Award (1996) and membership in the National Academy of Science (2002). In 2001, he was designated the most highly cited environmental scientist of the decade (1990-2000) by the Institute for Scientific Information.
In 1996, he founded Issues in Ecology to foster communication among ecologists, the public, and governmental decision makers. He has given about 200 invited talks to both public and academic audiences, and numerous radio, newspaper, magazine, and television interviews. Among other activities, he has served on a White House science advisory panel (The Biodiversity and Ecosystems Panel of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology – 1997-1998), as a Science Advisor for Public Radio International's "The World" (1997-1998), and on the editorial boards of Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Ecology, Ecological Monographs, The American Naturalist, Acta Oecologia (Paris), International Journal of Plant Sciences, and Limnology and Oceanography.