Bookbeat

Book Beat: June 1997

Tropical Forests and Their Crops Tropical Forests and Their Crops

by Nigel J. H. Smith, Department of Geography, J. T. Williams, Donald L. Plucknett and Jennifer P. Talbot
(Cornell University Press, 1997)
Available through Questia

The tropics are the source of many of our familiar fruits, vegetables, oils, and spices, as well as such commodities as rubber and wood. Distinctly practical and soundly informative, this book gives readers a feeling for the abundance of tropical forests, a sense of what we may lose if they are destroyed, and an appreciation for the relationships between tropical forest plants and people throughout the world.

- Publisher

Excerpt

Tropical forests represent only 7 percent of the earth's surface, but they contain more than half the world's biota (E. O. Wilson, 1988). Tropical deforestation thus has far more repercussions than destruction of an equivalent area of temperate forest. Tropical forests contain vastly greater numbers of wild populations of existing crops and potential crops than any other home. All tropical countries with forests are losing these complex and valuable ecosystems. Our examination of the rates of deforestation underscores the fact that time is running out for forests in some areas, and along with their loss will go plant and animal genetic resources whose value we may never know.

Physics, Chemistry, and Dynamics of Interplanetary Dust

edited by Bo A. S. Gustafson, Department of Astronomy and Martha S. Hanner
(Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1997)

IAU Colloquium 150 Physics, Chemistry, and Dynamics of Interplanetary Dust was held at the campus of the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, from August 14 to August 18, 1995. The Colloquium brought together 109 scientists from 18 countries....This continued the tradition of holding colloquia at regular intervals to review the progress in the broad range of disciplines used to study interplanetary dust and to help relate progress made through observations, experimentation, and theory.

- Publisher

Excerpt

A single spacecraft orbiting below 2000 km altitude is capable of producing a man-made orbital debris hazard which exceeds the natural interplanetary meteoroid hazard in low Earth orbit. Because of the high inclinations that most spacecraft are launched into, the average collision velocity between objects in this region is about 10 km/sec (Kessler 1994). Consequently, it was inescapable that orbital debris would become an environmental issue requiring models and measurements to understand this new environment.

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